September 5, 08
Germany Builds World’s First Carbon Capture Coal Plant

The Schwarze Pumpe power station, located in northern Germany, is a pilot project for carbon capture and storage (CCS) - the first coal-fired plant in the world ready to capture and store its own CO2 emissions.

The CO2 will be separated, squashed to one 500th of its original volume and squeezed into a cylinder ready to be transported to a gas field and forced 1,000m below the surface into porous rock where it should stay until long after mankind has stopped worrying about climate change.

This is the technology once lavishly described by the former UK Chief Scientist Sir David King as "the only hope for mankind".

The plant operators, Vattenfall, have worked furiously for two years to get the pilot running.

"We are very proud - we think this is the future for coal," says Vattenfall's Hubertus Altmann.

They funded the 70m-euro project themselves because they wanted to lead a technology they believe solves the conundrum of providing energy security through plentiful coal supplies whilst avoiding the CO2 emissions officially blamed for climate change.