A pilot plant to demonstrate a carbon dioxide (CO2) capture process -- a step in assessing new technology that could lower emissions from fossil-fuel-burning power plants -- will be constructed in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Alstom, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Milwaukee-based We Energies will work together to build the plant.

Windsor-Conn.-based Alstom will design, construct and operate a 5 MW pilot system that will capture CO2from a portion of boiler flue gas at the We Energies power plant. The system, the first of its kind in the United States, will incorporate carbon dioxide capture processes developed by Alstom.

The carbon capture process uses chilled ammonia to capture CO2. This process reduces the energy required to capture carbon dioxide and isolate it in a highly concentrated, high-pressure form. In laboratory testing sponsored by Alstom, EPRI, Statoil and others, the process has demonstrated the potential to capture more than 90 percent of CO2at a far lower cost than other carbon capture technologies.

The isolated CO2, once captured, can be used commercially or sequestered in suitable underground geological sites.

The pilot is scheduled to be commissioned at the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in mid-2007 and will be operated for at least one year. Palo Alto, Calif.-based EPRI will conduct an extensive evaluation of the system’s performance and support the development of technological and economic analyses associated with applying the carbon-capture process on a commercial scale, primarily to larger, coal-burning power plants.