PPC holding back on Ptolemaida V fuel decision

Power utility PPC will take ongoing global technological developments and their comparative costs into account to decide, in approximately a year’s time, on the fuel to be used at its prospective Ptolemaida V power station in northern Greece from 2028 onwards, when a switch from lignite has been scheduled.

The facility, expected to be completed in 2022, is initially planned to operate as a lignite-fired power station for a six-year period before switching to another fuel or fuels.

All options are being left open, meaning that, beyond 2028, Ptolemaida V could run on natural gas, biomass, waste-to-energy or a combination of these energy sources.

Biomass represents an advantageous option as it can be produced at the utility’s older lignite-fired units in the area, PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis has pointed out.

If a biomass option is chosen, PPC intends to provide land for farmers and cooperatives to cultivate plants for energy production. Yield potential and the local climate promise to be the two main factors behind PPC’s selection of plant species to be cultivated for biomass purposes.

Japan’s Mitsubishi, providing the new facility’s electromechanical equipment, was commissioned, some time ago, to conduct a study determining the optimal choice of fuel for Ptolemaida V beyond 2028.

Continued use of lignite, after 2028, at Ptolemaida V has also been tabled as a possibility if carbon-capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technology is applied for a zero net carbon footprint.

In such a case, the CCUS technology could be applied on a wider scale to lure industrial units to the region for the establishment of a new industrial zone.

Carbon-capture option latest proposal for Ptolemaida V

A carbon-capture proposal that would enable power utility PPC’s Ptolemaida V plant, currently under construction, to keep operating beyond 2028, a decarbonization deadline set by the government, has emerged as the latest option for the project’s future.

Carbon capture, a process preventing carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, would limit emissions by approximately 80 percent, making the Ptolemaida unit in Greece’s north, close to Kozani, feasible amid an environment of escalating CO2 emission right costs.

It is believed opting for a carbon-capture solution would equate Ptolemaida V’s emission-related costs with those of a natural gas-fired unit. Carbon storage is also being examined.

Ptolemaida V was initially planned as a coal generator but a number of alternatives, including a switch to natural gas powering, are now being considered, especially since the government’s recent pledge of a decarbonized Greek energy sector by 2028.

PPC and energy ministry officials have received the carbon capture proposal for Ptolemaida V.

Greek government MP Giorgos Amanatidis, representing the lignite-rich Kozani constituency, has contacted a scientific team behind the development of a major carbon-capture project in Texas, USA.

The MP has also spoken with investors interested in such a solution for Ptolemaida V.

A carbon-capture option would enable the continuation of lignite mining in the Kozani area, seen as key support for the local economy.