CAER Receives Largest Federal Grant in the Lab's History
CAER has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive $14.5M to develop ways to reduce cost and improve efficiency of advanced carbon capture systems used at coal-fired power plants. The project will be headed by the Power Generation and Utility Fuels group and will take place at LG&E/KU's Brown Power Plant in Mercer County.
The project will demonstrate a carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system that uses an innovative heat integration method that takes advantage of waste heat from existing fossil power plant technologies. The proposed process will significantly improve the overall plant efficiency when integrated with the CO2 capture system. Importantly, it can be used to retrofit existing coal-fired power plants.
"We began the Carbon Research Management Group consortium in 2007 with the goal of performing very practical research that would address the hurdles in applying these technologies on a utility-industry scale in terms of costs and energy usage," says Rodney Andrews, director of CAER. "If we want to reduce the impact of coal utilization and related carbon dioxide emissions, we have to come up with practical technologies that are cost effective. This project is the result of that work, and the investment that the Commonwealth of Kentucky has made in carbon management research here at CAER."
The other major participants in the project include: the CAER Carbon Management Research Group's industry members (America Electric Power, Duke Energy, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Electric Power Research Institute, and LG&E and KU Services Company), Hitachi Power System American (HPSA), Smith Management Group, Koch Modular Process Systems, and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
Dr. Kunlei Liu, associate director of the Power Generation and Utility Fuels group at CAER, is serving as principal investigator of the project, which is titled "Application of a Heat Integrated Post-Combustion CO2 Capture System with Hitachi Advanced Solvent into Existing Coal-Fired Power Plant."
Advanced CO2 power plant capture systems are a key element in carbon capture, storage and utilization technologies, considered by some energy experts to be among the important options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. Existing carbon capture systems currently require large amounts of energy for their operation, resulting in decreased efficiency and reduced net power output when compared to plants without these technologies. These penalties can add as much as 80 percent to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal plant.