Sizewell C (Photo: EDF Energy)EDF Energy subsidiary Nuclear New Build Generation Company (NNB GenCo – SZC Co) on 25 November published an Expression of Interest document for a direct air capture demonstrator project (DAC) at the planned Sizewell C nuclear power plant in the UK. 

Interested parties ae requested to express interest in:

  • Supply and development of DAC technology;
  • Design, engineer and construct DAC unit;
  • Develop opportunities for scalability and cost reductions; and
  • Project management services.

The purpose is to identify suitable parties interested in supporting SZC Co in designing, engineering, manufacturing and scaling a standalone demonstrator DAC plant.

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

“As part of the Energy Hub, DAC has been identified as an increasingly attractive and exciting prospect due to the role it can play in using the significant amounts of low-carbon heat generated by SZC to reduce carbon dioxide content (CO2) 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”, SZC said.

In the longer-term, SZC is considering a low-temperature heat driven DAC system alongside the operational SZC project:

  • the DAC would utilise steam of around 280◦C or lower tapped off from the turbine installation at the SZC power station when operational;
  • it would remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ambient air where the concentration is c.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 UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Greenhouse Gas Removal competition launched on 9 November to develop and construct a DAC demonstrator project. SZC noted:

  • the project will be an opportunity to develop and test the DAC technology prior to a fully integrated solution at SZC;
  • the project will seek to simulate the heat generated by a NPP through alternative means (such as an electrical heat source); and
  • this is so that the project is to be able to utilise the same envisaged heat driven technology that would be connected to the SZC nuclear project.

Photo: A direct air capture demonstrator project (DAC) is being considered at the planned Sizewell C nuclear power plant in the UK (Photo: EDF Energy)