EDF invites interest in DAC project at Sizewell C

25 November 2020

EDF has published an Expression of Interest document for a direct air capture demonstrator project (DAC) at Sizewell C, the nuclear power plant it plans to build in Suffolk, England. The work will support NNB GenCo (SZC Co) in: the supply and development of DAC technology, the design, engineering and construction of a DAC unit; the development of opportunities for scalability and cost reductions; and project management services.

The Sizewell C project design (Image: EDF Energy)

SZC Co proposes to construct a twin station European Pressurised Reactor at the Sizewell C site and is also exploring how SZC could be part of a wider hub of low-carbon energy technologies - the Energy Hub - which could support the UK government’s binding target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, EDF says in the document.

As part of the Energy Hub, DAC has been identified as "an increasingly attractive and exciting prospect", EDF said, due to the role it can play in using the significant amounts of low-carbon heat generated by SZC to reduce CO2 content in the atmosphere. By diverting a very small amount of the plant’s thermal output for DAC, the project would have the potential to become carbon negative, it said.

In the longer-term, SZC Co is considering a low-temperature heat driven DAC system alongside the operational SZC project: the DAC would utilise steam of about 280 degrees C or lower tapped off from the turbine installation at the SZC power station when operational; it would remove CO2 from the ambient air where the concentration is around 400ppm by placing large volumes of air in contact with chemicals known as sorbents; the two methods being considered are: (i) absorption: CO2 dissolves into liquid sorbent; and (ii) adsorption: CO2 adheres to the solid surface of the sorbent material; and in both cases, the sorbents are treated so that the CO2 is released from them and they can be re-used.

In the near term, SZC is considering participating in the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy's (BEIS) Greenhouse Gas Removal competition launched on 9 November to develop and construct a DAC demonstrator project. Applications for the BEIS competition are due by 5 February 2021.

The Expression of Interest document is here.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News