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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P034594/1
Title: Redefining power generation from carbonaceous fuels with carbonate looping combustion and gasification technologies
Principal Investigator: Manovic, Professor V
Other Investigators:
Hanak, Dr DP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cambridge Engineering Analysis & Design Origen Power Ltd
Department: School of Water, Energy and Environment
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2017 Ends: 30 June 2019 Value (£): 157,213
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Carbon Capture & Storage Energy - Conventional
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2017 Energy Feasibility 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Following the Paris Climate Change Agreement, 197 countries, including the UK, are now obligated to reduce their anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to hold the global mean temperature increase from pre-industrial levels well below 2 deg. C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 deg. C. Meeting this ambitious goal requires near-complete decarbonisation of the power sector, as it generates a third of the anthropogenic GHG emissions. To maintain its sustainability and international competitiveness, as well as to meet the environmental targets, the UK economy requires a secure supply of low-carbon electricity at an affordable cost. This is especially important in light of the forecast 30-60% increase in the peak electricity demand in the UK by 2050. Although the unabated conventional fossil fuel power systems are well-suited to flexibly meet the market demand, and thus to balance the intermittency of the renewable energy sources, they are heavy CO2 emitters.

As there are no other technologies that could significantly reduce emissions from conventional power generation from fossil fuel, which are expected to remain in the electricity mix for the foreseeable future, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as crucial to decarbonising the power sector. Yet, the integration of the most mature technologies, such as oxy-combustion and chemical solvent scrubbing, to the conventional fossil fuel power plants is predicted to reduce their electric efficiency by 7-13% points. This corresponds to an increase in the electricity cost by at least 60%. Carbonate looping, which is based on the reversible carbonation reaction of CO2 with a metal oxide, is regarded as an emerging CO2 capture technology that can reduce the electric efficiency penalties to 5-8% points.

The main reason behind such improvement is the high-temperature operation (500-950 deg. C) of carbonate looping that enables high-grade heat recovery and a clean and efficient syngas generation. As this process can act as a standalone combustor or gasifier, carbonate looping combustion and gasification can be seen as an emerging class of technologies for thermochemical conversion of carbonaceous fuels whose feasibility, in conjunction with high-efficiency power cycles and/or solid oxide fuel cells, needs to be thoroughly evaluated. Following the results of the preliminary studies performed by the applicants and the developments in nuclear and solar power generation technologies, it is speculated that such novel power generation systems will have higher net thermal efficiency (>38%HHV), lower CO2 specific emissions (<100 gCO2/kWh) and affordable cost of electricity (30-60 £/kWh) compared to conventional fossil fuel power generation systems.

This proposal will employ the state-of-the-art engineering procedures to develop, and assess the feasibility of, novel power generation concepts based on the emerging carbonate looping process and high-efficiency power cycles, and/or fuel cells. These concepts will be identified through a design matrix generated during screening of carbonate looping cycles, power cycles and fuel cells. Then, the process models of the sub-systems included in the design matrix will be built using first principles and validated with data retrieved from the literature. Synthesis of novel power generation concepts will be conducted by employing the process wide approach to process modelling. The initial configurations of the concepts will be revised by employing the heat exchanger network and parametric analyses. The concepts will be then assessed in terms of thermodynamic, environmental and economic performance using both deterministic and probabilistic approach. In addition, the reliability, availability and maintainability assessment will be performed. Finally, the feasibility of the novel power generation concepts will be assessed and benchmarked against the conventional fossil fuel power plants in the multi-criteria analysis.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk