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Study for Michigan coal plant conversion to biomass and CCS

Babcock & Wilcox will study the potential conversion of a coal-fired plant in Michigan to use biomass fuel with CCS retrofits.

Babcock & Wilcox has been awarded a contract by NorthStar Clean Energy to conduct a Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) engineering study to convert a coal-fired power plant in Michigan to use biomass fuel and retrofit the plant with B&W’s SolveBright™ carbon dioxide (CO2) capture process.

The study is the first phase of a commercial-scale project partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., LLC, will manage construction and mechanical scope of the study and commercial phase, according to a news release.

NorthStar Clean Energy plans to eliminate CO2 emissions from the plant by converting the 75 MW TES Filer City Station power station in Filer City, Mich., to use sustainable biomass as fuel. The plant is jointly owned by NorthStar Clean Energy (a subsidiary of Jackson, Mich.-based CMS Energy Corporation) and Houston, Texas-based Tondu Corp. The CO2 generated by the plant would be captured using B&W’s unique SolveBright post-combustion CO2 scrubbing process which provides for flexibility in the regenerable solvent used to isolate CO2 for sequestration or utilization.

“BECCS projects hold tremendous potential in helping the world achieve a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Joe Buckler, B&W senior vice president, clean energy. “Capturing CO2 from biomass combustion allows a plant to generate energy and be a net-negative emitter of greenhouse gases. This in turn allows the plant owner to offset emissions from other sources such as through the sale and trade of carbon credits.”

“For post-combustion carbon capture, B&W offers pre-treatment technologies to clean the flue gas prior to carbon capture and our SolveBright process that can be tailored to support the preferred solvent of our customers,” Buckler said.

“NorthStar Clean Energy brings our expertise and creativity to help our clients reach their decarbonization and business goals quickly,” said Brian Hartmann, president of NorthStar Clean Energy. “The Filer City carbon capture project is a prime example of how we can use innovation to make that happen. We look forward to partnering with B&W to showcase this technology’s potential in Michigan.”

When the biomass and carbon capture conversion is complete, TES Filer City Station will be able to provide power to more than 70,000 homes while producing net-negative CO2 emissions.

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