HC Deb 28 October 1985 vol 84 cc655-6
.6. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to promote the further development and use of fluidised bed combustion, in particular in regard to the development of combined heat and power systems.

Mr. David Hunt

My Department, the CEGB and the NCB are jointly funding a design study of an advanced 600 MW power plant employing pressurised fluidised bed combustion. The concept of linking a fluidised bed boiler to CHP plant is also being demonstrated under my right hon. Friend's Energy Efficiency Office's energy efficiency demonstration scheme.

Mr. Hardy

Will the Minister make it clear that the Government agree that this sort of development would usefully and wisely demonstrate clean and efficient coal use, would provide very necessary industrial orders, and could, under the CHP system, provide considerable help to urban areas, which are currently in dire need? Even, if the NCB's present chairman is not enthusiastic about selling the coal that his industry produces, will the Minister accept that this venture could be extremely useful?

Mr. Hunt

The technology for industrial boilers and furnaces is now fully commercial, with over 50 plants already built or on order. All variations of the technology, which the hon. Gentleman and I have seen, whether shallow, deep or circulating beds, are offered by British manufacturers with full commercial guarantees. It is very much the technology of the future.

Mr. Speller

Will the Minister stress that, in addition to fluidised bed combustion, there are many other ways of making coal efficient, other than by straightforward burning? Will he include such methods as gasification, which have an equal potential for industrial orders and for the future prosperity of the coal industry?

Mr. Hunt

Yes, I agree. My hon. Friend made his point very well in his excellent speech last Friday.

Mr. Allen McKay

As the coal-fired power stations will be coming towards the end of their life in the next 80 years, is the Minister proposing to order new coal-fired power stations, using the fluidised bed system?

Mr. Hunt

No. The ordering of the particular systems is a matter for the CEGB.

Mr. Chapman

As the fluidised bed combustion system is one of the methods by which sulphur emissions from power stations can be reduced, will my hon. Friend welcome such a development within CEGB power stations? In the light of the recent Select Committee report on acid rain, recommending that the United Kingdom should play its part in reducing trans-boundary pollution, will he set the CEGB targets for reducing sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions from its power stations as part of a concerted Government policy?

Mr. Hunt

I have already said and made it clear that this is a matter for the CEGB. I confirm, as I said to the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy), that this is exciting new technology, and considerable advances are already being made in a very positive way.

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