Last month, projects funded under the ERA-NET Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT) programme came together at RWE’s Niederaussem power plant in Bergheim, Germany, for the annual knowledge sharing workshop.
Philippa Parmiter, from SCCS, and I headed out on behalf of the ACT Acorn Project for a day of talks, tours and teamwork at the lignite-fired plant.
Throughout the day, the eight ACT projects shared updates and lessons learned since the first knowledge exchange event a year ago. The scale of the projects varies, with some involving dozens of partners and covering the full carbon capture and storage (CCS) chain, while others home in on one aspect, such as the use of 3D printing to improve capture technology. But each transnational project showcases collaboration across different member states and is focused on one thing: accelerating CCS technologies.
The projects also shared their own learning in other ways – how they communicate with and reach out to industry and decision makers, how the research partners collaborate both internally and with other ACT projects, and how all this is measured.
At lunchtime, the group donned overalls, steel toe capped boots, safety glasses and hardhats to venture into the depths of the power station. Our tour took us past the huge turbines before we ascended 160 metres in a lift to emerge almost eye level with the second largest cooling tower in the world. Certainly, the best views around in an otherwise flat area of Germany!
Back on ground level, we spent some time looking at the intricate network of pipes that made up the carbon capture pilot plant, where RWE has been testing different solvents and inputs for over a decade with some really exciting results.
After another successful knowledge share, the ACT project teams made their way back to their different corners of Europe to continue with important and groundbreaking research, all to accelerate CCS technologies.