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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Scottish & Southern poised for £1bn prize: British firm's world first in clean power

Last updated at 10:28 PM on 13th November 2010
Scottish & Southern Energy is favourite to build a £1billion-plus carbon capture plant to extract greenhouse gases from gas-fired power stations.
Engineers at the Perth-based company have been working for months on plans to use a gas and steam turbine at a power station in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, as a test bed for a small carbon capture plant.
The Government has promised a £1billion contract for a company that can produce an effective design for CCS - carbon capture and storage - on a large-scale gas-fired power station. Scottish & Southern is believed to be the only company in the world developing this technology.
Steaming: The old technology cooling towers at Didcot in south Oxfordshire
Steaming: The old technology cooling towers at Didcot in south Oxfordshire
Dozens of gas-fired power stations will be built in the next 20 years as old nuclear and coal-fired plants are decommissioned. the Government insists that all these power stations should be ccS ready - that is they should have facilities to connect CCS plants.
Plans for a different carbon capture scheme at Peterhead were shelved by oil giant BP in 2007 in protest at Government delays for funding such projects. 
But Scottish & Southern never gave up on the idea and has been secretly working on its own plans as Britain embarks on a second 'dash for gas' with dwindling North Sea supplies being replaced by imported gas.
Scottish & Southern chief executive ian Marchant said in July: 'If long-term targets for reducing emissions are to be met, CCS technology is going to have to apply as widely as possible. this means gas-fired power stations as well as coal.' if the company reckons its technology will work - and early results are encouraging - it will apply to the Government to build the world's first CCS plant.
Energy Secretary chris huhne believes Britain has the capacity to lead the world in this technology with countries like china having to clean up hundreds of coal fired power stations. the Department of Energy is running another CCS project, this one for coal-fired power stations, with another £1billion for the company that produces a working design.
Another British group, Scottish Power, is the only one working on such a project and is expected to win the contract when the Government announces a decision next year.

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