Many experts look at carbon capture with underground storage (CCS) as the most efficient approach to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at coal plants, but these systems can be difficult to develop and costly to install.
In a new white paper, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) looks at several available and under-development technologies that can potentially enable coal-fired power plants to significantly reduce CO2 emissions through the use of heat and more efficient combustion.
EPRI’s white paper analyzes current and possible future CO2 emissions standards, identifying challenges associated with CCS deployment and providing detailed descriptions of coal-only technologies not yet ready for deployment commercially that present significant opportunities for emissions reduction.
EPRI looks at several options for increasing thermal efficiency for coal-generated electricity, including Rankine cycles with higher steam temperatures, combined heat and power applications and coal gasification integrated with combined cycles, supercritical CO2 Brayton cycles, solid oxide fuel cells or triple cycles.
None of the options considered in EPRI’s analysis are currently available commercially, nor are they economically viable or suitable for broad deployment. Per the white paper, additional public-private R&D investment is needed to accelerate the deployment of these technologies.
“It’s critically important for the electric power industry to have as many generation technology and fuel options as possible,” said Tom Alley, EPRI vice president of Generation. “Reducing emissions will be one of the key drivers as the industry makes decisions about existing assets and about the designs and fuels used in the next generation of power plants.”