To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what consideration he has given to providing matching financial support to the £5 million offered by Ahlstrom of Finland to ensure the continuance of the British Coal topping cycle gasifier and pressurised fluidised bed combustion plant at Grimethorpe;
(2) what is his policy towards Government investment in integrated gasification combined cycle power generation technology;
(3) what is his policy towards Government investments in circulating fluidised bed coal combustion technology;
(4) what is his policy towards Government investment in bubbling fluidised bed combustion coal technology;
(5) if his Department or consultants to his Department have made any study of the benefits of using fluidised bed combustion technology for power plants to reduce carbon dioxide releases and help reduce greenhouse gas build up.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
Integrated gasification combined cycle, bubbling fluidised bed combustion, and circulating fluidised bed combustion are alternative means of consuming coal in an environmentally sensitive way in order to produce heat or to generate electricity. A considerable amount of public sector funding has been directed at the development of these technologies. It is for private sector companies and the energy industries to evaluate these methods of power generation against the more conventional forms of coal combustion, and to exploit their potential accordingly. My Department is studying carefully the British Coal request for Government support of research at Grimethorpe into the topping cycle concept.
"Energy Paper 56", which was published in July 1988, is a comprehensive appraisal of advanced coal-based power generation systems. This report considers the advantages and disadvantages of several technologies, including variants of fluidised bed combustion, and provides an indication of their potential for reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide.