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DOE Announces More Than $10 Million for Advanced Combustion Systems Research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected eight projects to develop enabling technologies for advanced combustion systems, including oxy-combustion and chemical looping–based power systems. The total estimated federal investment in the eight projects exceeds $10 million.  Funding amounts may vary as negotiations progress.

By developing efficient and economically viable combustion systems that generate electricity with near-zero emissions, DOE’s Advanced Combustion Systems Program contributes to the Administration’s priority of addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Central to the program are systems based on oxy-combustion, in which fuel is combusted with oxygen rather than air, and chemical looping combustion, in which oxygen is supplied to the fuel via a solid oxygen carrier. In both cases the resultant flue gas is a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide (CO2), enabling efficient and effective carbon capture.

The Energy Department is focused on driving down costs and collecting engineering data for scale-up of advanced coal-based power systems. The newly selected projects will improve the overall economics for these two technology pathways, ensuring that their technical performance and cost are substantially better than today’s baseline pulverized coal power plant with post-combustion capture. The projects will also support these technologies by addressing critical technology gaps and improving overall system performance.

The selected projects are in two topic areas: (1) research to improve the performance of pressurized oxy-combustion systems, and (2) research to improve performance of chemical looping combustion systems using coal-based solid fuels. Both topic areas aim to capture 90 percent of the CO2 produced in the targeted systems without the need for post-combustion capture systems.

All eight projects will be managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).  The six pressurized oxy-combustion projects, including estimated funding, are described below:

Development of Enabling Technologies for a Pressurized Dry Feed Oxy-Coal Reactor—Brigham Young University (Provo, UT) will design and build a 100 kilowatt oxy-coal reactor using a first-of-a-kind dry coal feed system. The work is intended to address technology issues that will lead to future design, development, and testing of commercial-scale pressurized oxy-coal systems. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,100,000

Enabling Staged Pressurized Oxy-Combustion: Improving Flexibility and Performance at Reduced Cost—The Electric Power Research Institute (Charlotte, NC) will conduct research to reduce the cost of electricity under both full and partial load conditions using two or more pressurized boilers in series to control temperature and heat transfer during the combustion process. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,167,332

Oxy-combustion System Process Optimization—TDA Research Inc. (Wheat Ridge, CO) will develop a new chemical absorbent–based, high-pressure CO2-purification system to remove residual oxygen in recovered CO2 and optimize the pressurized oxy-combustion process. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,099,999

Technology Demonstration of a High-Pressure Swirl Oxy-Coal Combustor—The NASA Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research at the University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, TX)  will demonstrate a down-fired swirl oxy-coal combustor and investigate the relationships between combustor operating conditions and conversion efficiencies to minimize oxygen requirements. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,100,000

Characterizing Impacts of Dry Coal Feeding in High-Pressure Oxy-Coal Combustion Systems—Reaction Engineering International (Murray, UT) plans to design and construct a dry pulverized coal feeding and firing system for an existing entrained flow pressurized reactor and determine how dry feeding affects overall performance of the system. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,229,720

Catalytic Removal of Oxygen and Pollutants in Exhaust Gases from Pressurized Oxy-Combustors—The Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana (Urbana, IL) will develop and validate advanced catalytic materials and bench-scale systems for purifying flue gas generated from pressurized coal oxy-combustors. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,498,323

Descriptions of the two chemical looping combustion projects follow:

Development of Enabling Technologies for Chemical Looping Combustion and Chemical Looping with Oxygen Uncoupling (CLOU)—The University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) will develop technologies to improve system performance and reduce costs of chemical looping combustion and CLOU by focusing on oxygen carrier management and reactor design and operation. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,333,804

Heat Integration Optimization and Dynamic Modeling Investigation for Advancing the Coal Direct Chemical Looping Process—The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) will address the optimization and startup operation of a modular coal direct chemical-looping combustion system integrated with a steam cycle for power generation to reduce the risks involved in scale-up of the technology. Estimated cost—DOE: $1,500,000

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research, development, and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced carbon technologies and further the sustainable use of the nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the Office of Fossil Energy’s programs, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for news announcements. To learn more about the NETL, one of DOE’s 17 national laboratories, visit the NETL website.