Carbon emissions with sunset

Carbon capture technology now in use at NTPC’s India power plant

Image credit: Dreamstime

As much as 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be captured per day from NTPC’s coal-fired power plant at Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, in Madhya Pradesh, India.

UK-based carbon capture organisation Carbon Clean has begun capturing carbon from NTPC’s power plant in India, with a view to converting it to methanol and reducing the facility's environmental impact. 

The project is taking place at NTPC’s 500MW coal-fired power plant (Unit-13) at Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, in Madhya Pradesh, India, in collaboration with Green Power International.

The organisations are expected to use a modified tertiary amine to capture CO2 from the flue gas that the power plant produces, capturing a total of 20 tonnes of CO2 per day. The carbon captured will then be combined with hydrogen to produce 10 tonnes of methanol a day, through a catalytic hydrogenation process.

“We are thrilled to see our technology begin to capture carbon from NTPC’s plant and look forward to seeing how the CO2-to-methanol project develops in the future," said Aniruddha Sharma, CEO of Carbon Clean. "This project demonstrates how carbon capture supports industrial decarbonisation, as well as providing opportunities for companies to join the growing circular carbon economy."

Often considered a promising environmentally friendly route for combatting CO2 emissions, catalytic hydrogenation can be used to convert CO2 to methanol by reacting hydrogen with CO2 using a catalyst such as nickel, palladium or platinum.

Carbon Clean’s CDRMax carbon capture technology can be used with point source gases that contain CO2 concentrations between 3 per cent and 25 per cent by volume and produces methanol with purities greater than 99 per cent. 

“It is a great honour and achievement to successfully demonstrate the carbon capture project at NTPC’s Vindhyachal plant," added Surbhi Puri, Director, Green Power International added.  

"Decarbonisation through carbon capture is the future. With this small contribution towards the net zero economy, we hope to inspire the industry to make further strides in this decarbonisation drive.”

Carbon capture and storage has been recognised as a critical technology to help energy-intensive sectors, such as cement and power generation, meet their net zero goals. 

In the UK alone, the carbon capture and storage (CCS) sector could be worth £100bn to the economy by 2050, according to an Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) report. The UK government’s official Net Zero Strategy estimates that around 50m tonnes a year will need to be captured by 2035.

The OEUK report estimates that the UK has a total storage capacity of 78 gigatons, one of the largest in Europe, but the domestic industry is at risk of losing it to more attractive opportunities elsewhere in the world if it does not secure first-mover advantage.

In June this year, the country opened its first licensing round of large-scale carbon capture projects in 13 areas within the North Sea, specifically in locations off the coast of Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire.

However, another study from researchers at Imperial College London recently found that governments routinely overestimate the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from carbon capture efforts by between 19 and 30 per cent. They argue that requiring facilities to report actual capture rates would tell us more precisely how well CCS is working and put us in a much better position to address the climate crisis.

Currently, there is no global centralised framework to compel the reporting of precise amounts of carbon captured, so actual rates of capture, transport and storage are not centrally reported.

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