Alliance to develop smaller power plants with reduced emissions

GTI, a research, development, and training organization serving energy and environmental markets, has signed an agreement with Korea Electric Power Research Institute (KEPRI), a unit of Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), to jointly research and develop oxygen-fired pressurized fluidized bed combustor (Oxy-PFBC) technology that promises power generation with substantially reduced emissions.

The joint development agreement between GTI and KEPRI focuses on combustor work which can lead to power generation with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture that is more efficient and lower cost than current CO2 capture technologies. Such achievements could help reduce capital costs and minimize the plant footprint of power generators.

The Oxy-PFBC technology uses oxy-fuel combustion, a process that burns solid fuel using a pressurized mixture of oxygen and CO2, instead of air, to produce heat to generate electricity. This improves process efficiency and results in exhaust gas that is primarily CO2 and water vapor, thereby reducing the cost of capturing the CO2 for later utilization or permanent storage underground. It also eliminates particulate emissions, an attribute which is important for air quality in South Korea.

Oxy-combustion enables high-efficiency gas cleanup, while pressurization shrinks the equipment size and the cost. The combustor is expected to be one-third the size of a traditional combustor and less than half the cost, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for a commercial-scale plant.

Pressurized fluidized bed combustion can result in electricity production from coal with near-zero emissions, while biomass-coal blends can achieve negative CO2 emissions. A commercial-scale plant is projected to capture CO2 emissions equivalent to removing 800,000 cars from the road.

The partners are working to validate the process, mature the technology, and address technology gaps to progress the commercialization of more economical CO2 capture technologies.