Babcock & Wilcox Proceeds with Coal-Fired Plant Conversion, Carbon Capture Installation

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The power plant will operate with biomass as fuel to produce power with net-negative greenhouse gas emissions and will capture up to 550,000 tons of CO2 per year.

NorthStar Clean Energy granted B&W a limited notice to proceed (LNTP) on the conversion of a former coal-fired power plant in Filer City, MI to a BECCS facility using the company’s biomass SolveBright post-combustion CO2 capture technology. B&W conducted a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the project and the partners are now working to finalize the full contract. The LNTP enables B&W to perform design and procurement work and full notice is slated for Q4 2024.

“We are excited to work with NorthStar Clean Energy on this very important net-negative CO2 emissions project,” said Jimmy Morgan, B&W Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “By pairing sustainably sourced biomass fuel with carbon capture, our customer will be able to produce clean energy while eliminating the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Upon completion of the conversion project, the power plant will operate with biomass as fuel to produce power with net-negative greenhouse gas emissions. With B&W’s SolveBright process, it will also be capable of capturing up to 550,000 tons of CO2 per year to be stored underground.


“As regulations require plant owners to significantly reduce or eliminate greenhouse gases from their coal-fired power generating assets, fuel-switching paired with CO2 capture can allow these assets to continue to provide economical and reliable baseload energy for many years to come,” Morgan said.

The full scope of the final contract will include engineering, design, and delivery of equipment to convert the coal plant to biomass fuel and install carbon-capture technology. B&W Construction Co. is responsible for the mechanical scope and construction of the BECCS facility. The Filer City plant is co-owned by Tondu Corp. and NorthStar Clean Energy.

“NorthStar Clean Energy is excited to bring our innovative spirit and development expertise to build one of the nation’s first large-scale biomass with carbon capture and sequestration projects,” said Brian Hartmann, President of NorthStar Clean Energy. “This project marks a step-change in real-world opportunities for our customers that are working to decarbonize and meet their business goals.”

In August 2023, NorthStar Clean Energy awarded B&W a contract for the initial FEED study for the BECCS conversion and SolveBright capture project in Filer City, which was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The CO2 generated by the plant will be captured using B&W’s SolveBright post-combustion CO2 scrubbing process, which provides flexibility in the regenerable solvent used to isolate CO2 for sequestration or utilization.

“Capturing CO2 from biomass combustion allows a plant to generate energy and be a net-negative emitter of greenhouse gases,” said Joe Buckler, B&W Senior Vice President, Clean Energy. “This in turn allows the plant owner to offset emissions from other sources such as through the sale and trade of carbon credits.”

When the biomass and carbon capture conversion is complete, TES Filer City Station will be able to provide power to more than 70,000 homes while producing net-negative CO2 emissions.

“For post-combustion carbon capture, B&W offers pre-treatment technologies to clean the flue gas prior to carbon capture and our SolveBright process that can be tailored to support the preferred solvent of our customers,” Buckler said.