Project No: FE0009448
Performer: Aerojet Rocketdyne


Richard Dennis
Technology Manager (Acting)
Advanced Combustion Systems
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Robin Ames
Federal Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Mark Fitzsimmons
Principal Investigator
Aerojet Rocketdyne
6633 Canoga Avenue
Canoga Park, CA 91309-7922

Award Date:  10/01/2012
Project Date:  03/31/2017

DOE Share: $12,923,654.00
Performer Share: $7,403,951.00
Total Award Value: $20,327,605.00

Performer website: Aerojet Rocketdyne -

Advanced Energy Systems - Advanced Combustion Systems

Advanced Oxy-Combustion Technology Development and Scale Up for New and Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Project Description

This Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne project will evaluate a novel process for pressurized oxy-combustion in a fluidized bed reactor. The pressurized combustion in oxygen and the recycle of carbon dioxide gas eliminates the presence of nitrogen and other constituents of air, minimizing the generation of pollutants and enabling the economic capture of CO2 gas.

Oxy-PFBC Layout 
Oxy-PFBC Layout

Program Background and Project Benefits

This project focuses on development of an oxygen-fired pressurized fluidized-bed combustor (Oxy-PFBC). The Oxy-PFBC operates at high pressure and improved efficiency, lowering capital and operating cost, and incorporates limestone injection to facilitate SO2 removal, reducing emission control equipment costs. Specifically, this project will design, build, and test a small-pilot scale Oxy-PFBC combustor to provide data necessary for scale-up.

Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

The project will conduct the testing required to advance the Oxy-PFBC to TRL level 6 and plan a scaled up field demonstration. Component tests will be performed to mitigate risk, select between alternative process parameters, and provide the baseline process for the pilot plant. The design of the pilot plan will be completed. Based on the Alberta Innovates funding decision and alternate funding options a go/no-go decision will be made about whether to proceed with construction of and testing at the pilot facility. Facility fabrication and commissioning will be completed. The recipient will also complete the Demonstration Plant pre- Front End Engineering and Design (pre-FEED) design. Pilot plant testing and analysis to validate the Oxy-Fired PFBC system performance and economics and finalize commercialization planning will be completed.

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. This project has not yet been assessed. 

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".


The project was selected for continuation into Phase II. The Aspen model was refined to accurately assess the final configuration with the best cost of electricity based on integrated analysis performed by Aerojet Rocketdyne and Linde. In particular, integration of flue gas low quality heat and compression inter-stage cooling with the boiler feed water stream were of particular importance in improving operational expenditure. Project personnel sought quotes for certain pieces of equipment, and in many cases, the Aspen Capital Cost Analyzer was used to determine appropriate installed costs for the plant in order to complete the economic analysis report. Laboratory studies were conducted at the Pennsylvania State University to address oxygen content and pressurized heat release testing of the sample coal. Sulfation testing and cold flow tests were completed to anchor some of the particle velocity assumptions being used in the kinetics model.