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Energy Business Review: Shell UK and Powerfuel sign agreement for coal gasification

18th April 2007
By Clare Watson

The UK unit of The Netherlands-based oil giant Shell has signed a license agreement with Powerfuel that entitles the company to use Shell’s proprietary gasification technology in its proposed 900MW integrated gasification combined cycle coal-fired power station in Hatfield, South Yorkshire.

According to Shell UK, the purpose of this approach is to enable carbon capture and storage to take place at the lowest cost using current technology. The partnership could see Powerfuel become the first commercial-scale coal-fired power generator with carbon capture in the world.

Shell commented that coal gasification is the cleanest method for converting coal’s energy potential into electricity. The process takes coal and turns it into a hydrogen-rich synthesis gas, which, in this case, will facilitate the separation of the carbon dioxide pre-combustion in the turbine generators. Shell added that the hydrogen rich stream could also potentially be used in clean transportation and in substitution of natural gas, as well as electricity production on site.

Richard Budge, chief executive of Powerfuel, said: “Success in this project would be enormously significant for UK and EU energy policy as it offers the benefits of a local, inexpensive fuel, improved security of electricity supply and very low carbon emissions.”

Peter de Wit, the executive vice president of Shell’s gas and power arm, global businesses, added: “Today’s agreement with Powerfuel is the second we have signed in Europe in less than a year and is the first in this region for a project incorporating carbon capture and storage from the outset.”

Engineering work will now proceed to create a full front-end engineering design package, following which construction of the facility is expected to take between three and four years.

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