Project No: FE0007952
Performer: Reaction Engineering International

Jenny Tennant
Technology Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Darryl Shockley
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880 PO3B
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Michael Bockelie
Principal Investigator
Reaction Engineering International
746 E. Winchester St., Suite 120
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
801-364-6925 X22

Award Date:  10/01/2011
Project Date:  06/30/2015

DOE Share: $1,130,386.00
Performer Share: $310,864.00
Total Award Value: $1,441,250.00

Performer website: Reaction Engineering International -

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Mitigation of Syngas Cooler Plugging and Fouling

Project Description

This project will develop a better understanding of ash deposition onto refractory and metal surfaces associated with the syngas cooler used in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants that incorporate a two-stage gasifier. Plugging and fouling of syngas coolers will be evaluated and specific mitigation methods validated. The successful completion of this project will result in improved availability and reliability of the syngas cooler and thereby improve the availability of the overall IGCC plant.

From left to right: Laminar Entrained Flow Reactor, Pilot Scale Entrained Flow Gasifier, Syngas Cooler CFD Model

Program Background and Project Benefits

Gasification is used to convert a solid feedstock, such as coal, petcoke, or biomass, into a gaseous form, referred to as synthesis gas or syngas, which is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide. With gasification-based technologies, pollutants can be captured and disposed of or converted to useful products. Gasification can generate clean power by adding steam to the syngas in a water-gas-shift reactor to convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (CO2) and to produce additional hydrogen. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated—the hydrogen is used to make power and the CO2 is sent to storage, converted to useful products or used for EOR. In addition to efficiently producing electric power, a wide range of transportation fuels and chemicals can be produced from the cleaned syngas, thereby providing the flexibility needed to capitalize on the changing economic market. As a result, gasification provides a flexible technology option for using domestically available resources while meeting future environmental emission standards. Polygeneration plants that produce multiple products are uniquely possible with gasification technologies. The Gasification Systems program is developing technologies in three key areas to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas: (1) Feed Systems, (2) Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems, and (3) Syngas Processing Systems.

Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting System technologies under development are targeted at increasing gasifier availability and efficiency, improving performance, and reducing the capital and operating costs of advanced gasification plants. Ongoing R&D projects are developing more durable refractory materials, creating models to better understand the kinetics and particulate behavior of fuel inside a gasifier, and developing practical solutions to mitigate the plugging and fouling of syngas coolers. Future work will focus on the development of cutting edge gasifier technologies, which will start with multiple competing concepts and continue with support of the most aggressive and successful technologies being developed, both in the Gasification Systems program and other DOE programs, to reduce the cost of coal gasification. Future work will also aim to reduce the amount of water used in gasification plants and integrate technologies throughout the plant and beyond in a holistic approach to increase efficiency and reduce costs (e.g., the optimization of gasification plants to sell CO2 for EOR applications).

This Reaction Engineering International (REI) project is focused on developing a better understanding of syngas cooler plugging and fouling principles, in order to formulate concepts for mitigation of these problems to improve gasification plant availability and reliability. Improvements in availability and reliability of the syngas cooler would directly reduce the cost of electricity in integrated gasification combined cycle plants and costs of other products from syngas. Specifically, REI is conducting experiments and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to develop designs for deposit removal, with the most promising concept to be validated during field testing.

Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

A team of experts in coal gasification, ash deposit formation, and coal gasification modeling will perform laboratory scale gasification experiments and develop practical solutions to ash deposition. Reaction Engineering International has teamed with the University of Utah (UofU) to perform the experimental work. Gasification equipment manufacturer(s) will also be involved with the project. Laboratory-scale experiments will evaluate the bond strength between deposits and metallic and refractory surfaces through a range of temperatures and fuels. Modeling will assist in test design and data interpretation to investigate deposition, plugging, and fouling in the syngas cooler section. Alternative process conditions and equipment designs will be evaluated to mitigate plugging and fouling of the syngas cooler. Promising concepts for deposit removal will be field tested during the final year of the program.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment identifies the current state of readiness of the key technologies being developed under the DOE’s Clean Coal Research Program. In FY 12, this project was assessed a TRL of 3.

The TRL assessment process and its results including definition and description of the levels may be found in the "2012 Technology Readiness Assessment-Analysis of Active Research Portfolio”.