The European Commission has proposed 250 million euros in support of PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów's project to construct a CCS (carbon capture and storage) plant.
The CCS plant project developed by PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów was included in the list of strategic investments proposed by the European Commission to receive Community support. Altogether, the Commission proposed expenditure of 5 billion euros for projects related to power generation and broadband Internet access to be implemented in the years 2009-2011. 3.5 billion euros will be spent on power engineering projects, of which 1.25 billion will be allocated to installations for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide. Community support is to help in the implementation of the European economic recovery plan.
The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said, "The whole recovery plan is based on "intelligent investments – meant to be short-term stimulus which will allow the achievement of long-term objectives (…).”
Currently, PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów, Europe's largest lignite-fired power plant, is building a new power generation unit with the capacity of 858 MW. Preparatory work relating to the installation of a CCS plant on the new unit is underway. PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów and Alstom have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development and subsequent commissioning of a plant for the capture and storage of CO2. In the first stage of the project, Alstom will design and build a pilot CCS plant at the existing unit no. 12. Acquired know-how and experience will then be used during the construction and operation of a demonstration CCS plant at the new power generation unit. Its startup is planned for the middle of 2011. In the second stage of the project, a large-scale high-efficiency industrial CCS plant will be erected; it is expected to capture CO2 from 1/3 of the flue gas stream leaving the new 858 MW power generation unit. This plant should be commissioned in 2015. The operation of a CCS plant will allow the Bełchatów Power Plant to reduce its yearly emission of carbon dioxide by about 1.7 million tons.