CCS and Power Systems
Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems
Recovery Act: High Temperature Syngas Cleanup Technology Scale-Up and Demonstration Project
Performer: Research Triangle Institute
Project No: FE0000489
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.
Syngas processing research and development underway emphasizes technologies that can be efficiently integrated into the plant, optimized with the temperature and pressure requirements of other systems, and meet product delivery specifications. A major cost element in gasification plants is converting raw syngas into a pure and specific gas used to create the plant's target product suite. High-hydrogen, low-methane, ultraclean syngas is versatile and can be used for power production with CO2 capture, fuels or chemicals production, and for many polygeneration applications. The technologies being developed are focused on high-efficiency processes that operate at moderate to high temperatures and clean syngas of all contaminants to the extremely low levels needed for chemical production—often significantly lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required levels for power plants.
Research Triangle Institute’s (RTI) warm syngas cleanup technology removes the most significant coal contaminants from syngas at high temperature, improving thermal and environmental performance of syngas cleanup technology. Specifically, the project consists of designing, building, and testing the High Temperature Desulfurization Process (HTDP) at pre-commercial scale (50 megawatt electric equivalent [MWe]) to remove more than 99.9 percent of the sulfur from coal-derived synthesis gas (syngas). Techno-economic studies have shown that RTI's warm syngas cleanup technology, when integrated with 90 percent CO2 capture, has the potential to significantly reduce the capital and operating cost of an IGCC plant, resulting in lower cost of electricity.