Dominion, Tech propose carbon-capturing project

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A coalition including Virginia Tech and Dominion Virginia Power is seeking federal stimulus funding for a carbon-capture and storage project at Dominion’s coal-fired power plant currently under construction in Wise County.

Under the plan, carbon emissions would be removed from Dominion’s Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center and moved along a pipeline for permanent storage in unmineable coal seams and underground saline formations. An additional benefit could be the production of 2.5 billion cubic feet of methane, the main component in natural gas.

Virginia Tech’s Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research will lead the project. The group has tested carbon storage in small quantities. The Virginia Tech Foundation applied for grant, which would cover half of the $580 million project, on behalf of Dominion Virginia Power, The Southern States Energy Board, and Marshall Miller and Associates, and engineering and geologic consultants, coal companies, gas companies and railroads.

The Virginia City coal plant, scheduled to be completed in 2012, is being built to accommodate carbon-capture equipment that could remove up to 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide each day.

Dominion Virginia Power would lead the carbon capture portion of the project, while Marshall Miller and Associates would lead the capture-storage part of the project.

Construction of the carbon-capture project could be completed by April 2015, depending on company and regulatory approvals. Then the injection and monitoring phases could run until 2021.

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