Office of Fossil Energy

Energy Department Invests $14.7M in Large-Scale Fossil Fuel Pilot Projects

July 9, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected six projects to receive approximately $14.7 million in federal funding for Phase II of funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots.

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 technologies selected for Phase II are similar to or are components of the Coal FIRST Initiative. These technologies could support future design and construction of the next generation of coal fired power plants that are flexible, resilient, economical, and emit near zero emissions, including carbon dioxide.

“Coal-fired plants provide a significant source of electrical power in the United States,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “This R&D will enable the United States to have a high-efficiency, low-emissions coal fleet that will continue to provide stability to the power grid.”

The FOA, issued in August 2017, involves three phases, with competitive down-selections made between phases:

  • Phase I (Feasibility) supported 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.

  • Phase II (Design) projects will complete a front-end engineering design study and complete the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

  • Phase III (Construction/Operation) will include two final projects selected to proceed with construction and operation of large-scale pilot facilities.

After the successful completion of Phase I, DOE selected the following projects to move forward to design in Phase II:

Large Pilot Testing of Linde/BASF Advanced Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Technology at a Coal-Fired Power PlantThe Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL) will continue plans to design, construct, and operate an advanced amine-based post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system at a coal-fired power plant. The City Water, Light and Power plant will serve as the host for Phase II. The project will allow for knowledge-sharing with coal-fired plant generators across the U.S. and beyond, leading to larger scale operations to reduce energy costs and limit emissions.   

DOE Funding: $2,998,040; Non-DOE Funding: $741,416; Total Funding: $3,739,456 

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Primary Power Large-Scale Pilot Plant – Echogen Power Systems (DE) Inc. (Akron, OH) will work with its partners to complete and refine a proposed coal-fired supercritical CO2 large-scale pilot project. Phase II activities include completion of a FEED study, NEPA review and the permitting process for construction. The study aims to prove the economic and technical superiority of the supercritical CO2 power cycle for coal-fired operation.  

DOE Funding: $2,461,272; Non-DOE Funding: $615,318; Total Funding: $3,076,590 

Phase II: Large Pilot Testing of the MTR Membrane Post-Combustion Membrane Technology and Research Inc. (Newark, CA) will conduct a FEED study among other design preparations in Phase II of their membrane system tests. Wyoming Integrated Test Center will serve as the staging ground for their proposed membrane system. A successful design would allow for reduction in construction time and costs and an increase in quality for large-scale commercial plants that use this membrane system.

DOE Funding: $2,946,940; Non-DOE Funding: $736,868; Total Funding: $3,683,808 

Flameless Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Large Pilot Design, Construction and OperationSouthwest Research Institute (San Antonio, TX) will proceed with basic engineering, design, specification, cost and schedule metrics for a large-scale, coal-combustion pilot plant using flameless pressurized oxy-combustion technology. Conceptual designs were completed, and a host site was selected in Phase I. For Phase II, the team is ready to complete a front-end engineering design (FEED) study. The overall goal of the project is to reduce risk in the path of commercialization of this transformative coal technology.

DOE Funding: $2,999,459; Non-DOE Funding: $760,658; Total Funding: $3,760,117 

Making Coal Relevant for Small-Scale Applications: Modular Gasification for Syngas/Engine Combined Heat and Power Applications in Challenging EnvironmentsUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK) researchers will complete the design, NEPA and environmental permitting processes for Phase II to determine if a pilot plant can be built on campus. The project’s overall goal is to demonstrate the potential for small-scale, modular, coal gasification units to provide low-cost fuel for firing reciprocating engine generators with syngas and pyrolysis tars/oils. Successful competition of this project will provide a price-stable, flexible option for extending the life of coal-fired plants.

DOE Funding: $1,147,010; Non-DOE Funding: $286,734; Total Funding: $1,433,744

UKy-CAER Heat-Integrated Transformative CO2 Capture Process in Pulverized Coal Power Plants – University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY) will move forward with plans to apply its transformative CO2 capture approach to ensure continued utilization of abundant, low-cost coal while also affordably meeting and managing environmental concerns. Preparation for construction will begin in Phase II. The successful application of this system will provide a clear path to developing commercial-scale carbon capture and storage units.

DOE Funding: $2,229,364; Non-DOE Funding: $557,477; Total Funding: $2,786,841 

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the selected projects. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available HERE. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit their website HERE.