Department of Energy

Department of Energy to Invest $6.5 Million for Large-Scale Pilot Fossil Fuel Projects

February 15, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have selected nine projects to receive approximately $6.5 million in federal funding for Phase I of the Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

This FOA, issued in August 2017, is a $50 million funding opportunity for projects supporting cost-shared research and development to design, construct, and operate two large-scale pilots to demonstrate transformational coal technologies.

DOE has supported a range of potentially transformational coal technologies aimed at enabling step-change improvements in coal-powered systems. Some of these technologies are now ready to proceed to the large-scale pilot stage of development. The selections announced today have demonstrated technical success at the small-scale pilot stage.

The FOA involves three phases, with competitive down-selections made between phases:

  • Phase I (Feasibility) will support efforts to secure team commitments; update the preliminary cost estimate and schedule for design, construction, and operation; secure construction/operation cost-share funding; and complete an environmental information volume (EIV).
  • Phase II (Design) selected projects will complete a front-end engineering design study and complete the National Environmental Policy Act process.
  • Phase III (Construction/Operation) will ultimately be the two, final projects selected to support construction and operation of the large-scale pilot facilities.

The following projects have been selected for Phase I:

Phase I: Feasibility Study for 10 Megawatt-Electric (MWe) Coal Direct Chemical Looping Large Pilot Plant Demonstration at the Dover Light & Power Plant in Dover, OH

The Babcock & Wilcox Company (Barberton, OH) will complete a feasibility study of a coal-direct chemical looping large pilot plant for a specific utility site. The design of the large pilot plant will incorporate an advanced combustion design and control features that have been verified through performance testing on the sub-pilot unit at Ohio State University and further testing on the small-scale pilot at Babcock & Wilcox. In Phase I, the company will complete an EIV and host site characterization; develop a cost estimate for the design, construction, and operation of a modular 10 MWe pilot plant; and assemble the project team and secure cost share commitments for future phases.

DOE funding: $741,194 Non-DOE: $188,333 Total: $929,527

Large Pilot Testing of Linde/BASF Advanced Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Technology at a Coal-Fired Power Plant

The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL) will design, construct, and operate an advanced amine-based post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system at a coal-fired power plant. In Phase I, the University of Illinois will complete a feasibility study and selection host site; complete an EIV for the chosen host site; obtain the necessary commitments and update the cost and schedule estimates for the site; and secure cost share commitments.

DOE funding: $852,820 Non-DOE: $220,991 Total: $1,073,811

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO2) Primary Power Large-Scale Pilot Plant

Echogen Power Systems (DE), Inc. (Akron, OH) will lead a project team that includes Siemens, Electric Power Research Institute, Louis Perry Associates, and Paul Weitzel Technical Consulting to design, construct, and operate a coal-fired sCO2 large-scale pilot. This transformational technology uses sCO2 as a working fluid instead of water to achieve high thermodynamic efficiencies that can potentially exceed advanced steam-Rankine cycles. If successful, the proposed coal-fired sCO2 pilot power plant will reduce the technical and economic risk of this transformational technology, therefore increasing the potential for commercial deployment at the end of the project.

DOE funding: $676,377 Non-DOE: $169,095 Total: $845,472

Transformational Reduction Using Sealing Technology in LCOE for Coal-Based Power Plants

General Electric Company (GE) (Schenectady, NY), in partnership with GE Global Research, will use sealing technologies to drive a step change in the performance, efficiency, and levelized cost of electricity of new and existing coal-based power plants. The sealing technologies proposed include seals for shaft ends, interstage, blade tips, and valve locations. In Phase I, GE will mature the shaft end and interstage seals, and identify the type of steam turbine plant that would make a suitable test bed. A key aspect of the proposed approach is the use of an existing steam power-plant for validation and demonstration of transformational coal technology.

DOE funding: $662,106 Non-DOE: $165,527 Total: $827,633

Large Pilot Testing of the MTR Membrane Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Process

Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (Newark, CA) will lead a team to design, build, and operate a 200 tonne CO2/day large pilot capture system at a coal-fired power plant operated by NRG Energy, Inc. The large membrane pilot will be designed to focus on partial capture from a slipstream of flue gas using the MTR PolarisTM membrane. In Phase I, Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. will select the host power plant, secure financial commitments, conduct an environmental review, update design and budget, and finalize team commitments and organization for subsequent phases.

DOE funding: $957,111 Non-DOE: $239,277 Total: $1,196,388

Flameless Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Large Pilot Design, Construction, and Operation: Phase I

Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, TX) will provide detailed design, specification, cost, and schedule metrics for a large-scale coal-combustion pilot plant. This plant will demonstrate flameless pressurized oxy-combustion (FPO) technology, which has the potential to reduce the levelized cost of electricity while capturing CO2 that is ready for compression to pipe-line pressure. The Phase I effort will address key systems, such as the flue gas turbo-expander, that require additional development beyond what is commercially available to ensure the FPO technology will achieve maximum efficiency.

DOE funding: $998,862 Non-DOE: $249,715 Total: $1,248,577

Making Coal Relevant for Small Scale Applications: Modular Gasification for Syngas/Engine Combined Heat and Power Applications in Challenging Environments

University of Alaska Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK) will provide detailed engineering, design, and analysis to produce a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for a modular air-blown fixed-bed gasifier with gas cleanup to provide clean syngas to an existing diesel engine generator. The FEED will include technologies for lowering sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions to allow for operating the diesel engine on syngas.

DOE: $15,908 Non-DOE: $3,978 Total: $19,886

UKy-CAER Heat-integrated Transformative CO2 Capture Process for Pulverized Coal Power Plants

University of Kentucky Research Foundation’s (Lexington, KY) Center for Applied Energy Research (UKy-CAER) will demonstrate a post-combustion carbon capture system for a pulverized coal-fired power plant. The system will include modular equipment and free-standing columns with built-in advanced controls to continually minimize the CO2 capture energy penalty while responding to a dynamic external demand. The system will combine several facets to simultaneously address capital cost, energy consumption, load change, and environmental impact.

DOE: $934,554 Non-DOE: $233,663 Total: $1,168,217

Scale-Up of Coal-Based Supercritical CO2 Cycle Technology

The University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) (Grand Forks, ND) will lead a team to design, build, and operate a direct-fired, supercritical CO2 cycle pilot plant. This plant will use a variety of domestic coal reserves as the primary feedstock, and it will further the technology development of the coal-based Allam Cycle. In Phase I, the team will evaluate the appropriate scale and candidate host sites for a large coal-based Allam Cycle pilot plant; develop a preliminary design, cost, and schedule for the pilot; secure commitments for Phase II; and complete an EIV.

DOE: $700,000 Non-DOE: $175,000 Total: $875,000

To learn more about the programs within DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, visit their website HERE. For more information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory, visit their website HERE.