DOE Awards $10 Million to Advanced Combustion Projects

Pictured are chunks of coal along with pulverized coal (bottle, center) and the iron oxide beads (bottle, right) that enable chemical looping, a chemical reaction that harnesses the energy of coal chemically, without burning it. Photo courtesy: Jo McCulty, Ohio State University.

By Editors of Power Engineering

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $10 million to eight projects dedicated to the research and development of advanced combustion systems, including oxy-combustion and chemical looping-based power systems.

Reducing greenhouse gas emission is the single largest priority of DOE’s Advanced Combustion Systems Program. Oxy-combustion, a process for combusting fuel with oxygen rather than air, and chemical looping combustion, a chemical reaction that produces no greenhouse gases, are high priorities for funding, the agency said in a press release.

DOE “is focused on driving down costs and collecting engineering data for scal-up of advanced coal-based power systems,” the agency said. “The newly selected projects will improve the overall economics for these two technology pathways.”

The selected projects are aimed at capturing 90 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced, without the need for post-combustion capture systems.

All eight projects will be managed by the Office of Fossil energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. All eight projects are described below:

Enabling Staged Pressurized Oxy-Combustion: Improving Flexibility and Performance at Reduced Cost—The Electric Power Research Institute (Charlotte, NC) will conduct research to reduce the cost of electricity under both full and partial load conditions using two or more pressurized boilers in series to control temperature and heat transfer during the combustion process. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,167,332

Oxy-combustion System Process Optimization—TDA Research Inc. (Wheat Ridge, CO) will develop a new chemical absorbent–based, high-pressure CO2-purification system to remove residual oxygen in recovered CO2 and optimize the pressurized oxy-combustion process. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,099,999

Technology Demonstration of a High-Pressure Swirl Oxy-Coal Combustor—The NASA Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research at the University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, TX)  will demonstrate a down-fired swirl oxy-coal combustor and investigate the relationships between combustor operating conditions and conversion efficiencies to minimize oxygen requirements. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,100,000

Characterizing Impacts of Dry Coal Feeding in High-Pressure Oxy-Coal Combustion Systems—Reaction Engineering International (Murray, UT) plans to design and construct a dry pulverized coal feeding and firing system for an existing entrained flow pressurized reactor and determine how dry feeding affects overall performance of the system. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,229,720

Catalytic Removal of Oxygen and Pollutants in Exhaust Gases from Pressurized Oxy-Combustors—The Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana (Urbana, IL) will develop and validate advanced catalytic materials and bench-scale systems for purifying flue gas generated from pressurized coal oxy-combustors. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,498,323

Descriptions of the two chemical looping combustion projects follow:

Development of Enabling Technologies for Chemical Looping Combustion and Chemical Looping with Oxygen Uncoupling (CLOU)—The University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) will develop technologies to improve system performance and reduce costs of chemical looping combustion and CLOU by focusing on oxygen carrier management and reactor design and operation. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,333,804

Heat Integration Optimization and Dynamic Modeling Investigation for Advancing the Coal Direct Chemical Looping Process—The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) will address the optimization and startup operation of a modular coal direct chemical-looping combustion system integrated with a steam cycle for power generation to reduce the risks involved in scale-up of the technology. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,500,000

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