A consortium, led by Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre, has developed a technology that captures the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of power plants in a more economical and environmental manner.
The technology, which was developed as part of the FLEXI BURN CFB project, is based on a combination of traditional circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion and oxyfuel combustion, enabling more extensive use of cheaper fuels and even biomass.
Sciencedaily.com reports that political decisions and legislative changes will be necessary before widespread implementation of this new technology.
This technology combines oxyfuel-based CO2 capture with the flexibility and financial benefits of CFB combustion.
Furthermore, the same power plant can continue operation even when capture is not possible. For example during a temporary outage of the CO2 transport and storage facilities, thus reducing the investment risk.
The advantages of the process is said to include include high efficiency, fuel flexibility and the option of using a large proportion of biomass in the fuel.
The increased price of energy and exhaustion of good-quality fuel reserves mean it is currently more profitable to use lower-quality fuels.
The fuel flexibility enabled by this technology will reduce dependency on imported coal and create cost savings, since cheaper options, including waste coal, can be used for fuel.
Sciencedaily.com adds that while equipping plants for the process will require more investment, the use of cheaper fuels can offset the costs that will inevitably be incurred through adopting the process.
The functionality of the technology was proven at a demonstration plant in Spain (30 MWth), the world's largest operational CFB-oxyfuel combustion plant.
The project also developed a commercial-scale concept for a 300MWe plant.
Meeting global emission reduction targets means every year dozens of additional power plants will have to implement carbon capture systems. Until now, capture technologies has been at the trial stage and their implementation slowed by the prohibitive cost of the available methods.
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