WASHINGTON, DC—The Department of Energy has selected two projects to demonstrate “oxycombustion” – a promising carbon capture technology – in existing coal-fired power plants. The projects, valued at nearly $10 million, are expected to help expedite the timeline for commercialization of oxycombustion technology through slip stream or pilot plant testing.
In an oxycombustion-based power plant, oxygen rather than air is used to combust a fuel resulting in a highly pure carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaust that can be captured at relatively low-cost and sequestered. No commercial oxygen combustion power plants are operating today, due mainly to the high cost of producing oxygen. Significant reduction in the cost of oxygen compared to today’s best cryogenic technology is a key requirement to making the oxycombustion power plant a viable future option. The two projects selected by DOE show promise for reducing those costs when compared to existing CO2 capture systems.
As coal continues to be a dominant fuel source for existing power plants, and electricity generation is expected to grow, reducing carbon emissions by capturing and sequestering CO2 from these plants is vital. Reducing the cost and technical risk of oxycombustion technology moves the nation closer to cleaner, more efficient power generation from coal.
The two projects selected for this cooperative agreement include:
- Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) — B&W and its team will conduct five-million Btu per hour pilot-scale tests across a range of coal types including: Eastern bituminous coal, Power River Basin pulverized coal, sub-bituminous coal, and lignite coal. The team will optimize the oxycombustion process by performing parametric testing in wall-fired and cyclone boiler configurations. B&W’s project expects to demonstrate that those cyclone boilers retrofitted with oxycombustion technology will demonstrate a cost-effective approach for CO2 capture coupled with much lower nitrogen oxide emissions. The total value of this project is $3.5 million and it will be carried out over a two-year period.
- BOC Group, Inc. — The BOC Group plans to capture CO2 by combining oxycombustion technology with flue gas recycle in a process that replaces combustion air with a mixture of oxygen and recycled flue gas to produce a carbon dioxide-rich flue gas for sequestration. To reduce the cost of oxygen production, BOC plans to apply its CAR (Ceramic Autothermal Recovery) oxygen production process that uses the mineral Perovskite to absorb oxygen and subsequently release it in a circulating fluidized bed and pulverized coal pilot-scale firing configuration. The total value of this three-year project is $6.1 million.