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As of September 30, 2016, the Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies program at MIT has closed. The website is being kept online as a reference but will not be updated.

Schwarze Pumpe Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project

Company/Alliance: Vattenfall, Gaz de France

Location: Schwarze Pumpe, south-east of Berlin, Germany

Feedstock: Lignite coal

Process: Pulverized dry lignite and bituminous coal (The pulverized dry lignite is being tested first)

Size: 30 MW pilot plant

Capture Technology: Oxyfuel combustion and post-combustion: 75,000 tons/yr CO2 captured

CO2 Fate: Sequestration in a depleted natural gas field: The CO2 is transported 400 km by road tanker to the Altmark region, where it is injected into a depleted natural-gas field

Timing: Pilot plant construction started in 2007; Pilot plant commissioning in 2008. Completed in May 2014

Scale Up: Vattenfall's Janschwalde project (now cancelled)


The total investment is €70 million (US$ 96 million)


On May 6 2014, Vattenfall announced that it was discontinuing all research into CCS. CCS research was cut as Vattenfall decreases its R&D budget by 20%. They announced that they will focus on other energy sources as the challenging market conditions limited have spending.

The project consists of a steam generator with a single 30 MW top-mounted pulverized coal burner and the subsequent flue gas cleaning equipment, ie electrostatic precipitator, wet flue gas desulfurization and the flue gas condenser. In addition a CO2 purification and compression plant is downstream of the flue gas condenser to produce liquid CO2 and gaseous oxygen with 99.5% purity. This high level of purity is required for combustion is supplied by a cryogenic air separation unit.

Vattenfall announced in November 2009 that it was achieving nearly 100% CO2 capture at Schwarze Pumpe. As of the beginning of June 2010, Schwarze Pumpe has been in operation over 6500 hours during the previous 18 months. The pilot plant is designed to have flexibility in terms of construction and the ability to exchange components such as the burners. Vattenfall is continuously rebuilding and developing this unit. Since starting CO2 capture, there have been two rebuilding periods to enlarge the project and changes were made to three different burners for testing purposes. One item that is now being built is an alternative CO2 processing line, which might eliminate the desulfurization unit and make the clean-up of the CO2 easier and better. This is achieved while also simultaneously increasing both the capture rate and eliminating almost all emissions. Schwarze Pumpe contains a complete process from fuel input to delivery of liquid clean CO2. It is scheduled to be operated for a ten year period, delivering base knowledge and validation data which was originally for the cancelled Jänschwalde project, located in eastern Germany.

This project is also known as the CO2-Free Power Plant Project. Vattenfall began collaborating with two R&D projects on CCS technology at the end of 2006. Vattenfall sponsored, through the CO2 GeoNet European Network of Excellence, a network sponsored by the European Commission from 2004 to 2009, the Joint Research Activities Programme 18 “Monitoring near-surface leakage and its impacts.” Vattenfall is also collaborating with the Imperial College of London to perform a life cycle assessment of the CCS process.

Project Link: Vattenfall Schwarze Pumpe webpage

Other Sources and Press Releases:

Vattenfall abandons research on CO2 storage (May 2014)
Vattenfall CO2 Free Power Plant
Bridging to the Future: Vattenfall's newsletter on the CO2-free power plant project
Pilot Plant at Schwarze Pumpe information
BBC guided tour of Schwarze Pumpe (September 2008)
Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants [PDF] (November 2006)