Carbon capture pilot plant unveiled at Imperial College

19 June 2012

Students at Imperial College, London recently took control of a £2 million carbon capture pilot plant which is believed to be the most sophisticated of its kind in an academic institution in the world. The pilot plant demonstrates how CO2 emissions can be captured by a power plant, which will enable students to learn the principles that can be applied in a range of industrial settings, including petrochemical plants.

Commenting on the new facility, Dr Daryl Williams, director of the Pilot Plant Project at the college, said: “This plant gives Imperial students the opportunity to run one of the most sophisticated carbon capture pilot plants in the world. We can create a range of scenarios so students can experience and help t solve everyday engineering problems.”

The plant is able to separate 1.2 tonnes of CO2 from other harmless emissions in a continuous process that sees the gases remixed and separated time after time to demonstrate how, in the future, industry could capture CO2 emissions.

ABB has invested close to £1 million and signed a 10-year agreement with Imperial College London to support the pilot plant, which uses a combination of instrumentation, drives, motors and process automation equipment supplied by ABB.

In recognition of its support for the pilot plant, Imperial has named the hi-tech centre-piece of the installation the ABB Control Room. This houses the extended operator workplace (EOW) and the distributed control system, System 800xA, from where operators control and supervise the plant.

ABB also has access to the carbon capture pilot plant for its own use and will be using the facility for customer demonstrations and training, staff learning such as inter-divisional training, hands on experience for its apprentices and product testing and software evaluation. Indeed the company is already using the plant to trial its energy harvesting technology for wireless transmitters (See the full story on page 10).

“We will be able to trial new technology in a low risk, well-managed environment to gather Beta site test data. It also gives ABB a great platform to train its staff and customers on a real pilot plant. Quite simply, there are very few industrial companies that have utilised all the leading-edge technology that Imperial College is featuring within this pilot plant,” said Martin Grady, general manager, oil, gas and petrochemical – UK, ABB.

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