A visit to the Korea Institute of Energy Research

Dr János Szuhánszki and Dr Karen N Finney from Energy2050/PACT at the University of Sheffield Travelled to S Korea to Visit the Korea Institute of Energy Research



Financed through the UKCCSRC International Research Collaboration Fund, two researchers from the University of Sheffield – Dr János Szuhánszki and Dr Karen N Finney – travelled to South Korea to visit the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) in August 2017. Hosted by Dr Young Cheol Park, the two-day itinerary involved research presentations by the Energy2050/PACT researchers and by the KIER research team, as well as lab tours in Daejeon and a site visit to the Hadong Power Plant and carbon capture facility.

On the first day we gave an overview of the key themes covered by the research activities at the Energy 2050 group at Sheffield, which takes a wholistic approach looking at all the key areas across relating to the Energy Industry. These are Energy Generation, including Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), Nuclear as well as Renewables; Energy Use & Demand, including Transport, Buildings and Sustainable Cities; as well as Energy Infrastructure & Integration including Energy Storage and Smart Grids.



We then summarised some of the world leading research being undertaken at the UKCCSRC PACT Facilities, at Sheffield. We first highlighted the key facilities available at PACT, particularly the 250kW air/oxy-fuel CTF, the 100kWe CHP gas turbines, and the integrated solvent based Post Combustion Capture Plant (PCCP) as well as the state-of-the-art analytical equipment. These include an array of combustion/process characterisation and full CFD and process modelling capabilities. 



After a short but lively Q&A our Korean hosts kindly took us on a very informative tour of the research Facilities at KIER. Highlights included, their lab scale facilities where they’ve been testing the concept and design principles of their dry CO2 recovery process, before scaling it up. The first trials, using potassium carbonate (K2CO3) in aqueous solution, first started in 2003 at KIER in Daejeon, which in 2006 was then scaled up 50 fold to 25kW at a second installation in KIER. This paved the way to a commercial study of 0.5MW and then 10MW at the Hadong power plant. 



Our visit to the Hadong Power Plant, near Pusan, on the second day involved a long drive through the beautiful Korean countryside – huge mountain ranges and extensive forests. The power station is located in the southeast of the country, near the coast for easy access to water. The coal-fired facility, run by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), is also the location for the KIER post-combustion carbon capture research facility, which absorbs CO2 from a 10 MW slipstream (from Unit No. 8) off the 500 MW power plant flue gases. This uses dry regenerable potassium-based solid sorbents to capture up to 200 t/day of CO2 via fluidised-bed technology for the absorber and stripper. It has been fully operational since the initial commissioning in October 2013 at 10 MW, starting with a 0.5 MW slipstream between 2011 and 2013, which has been increased up to its current capacity. This is the largest capacity carbon capture facility we have visited so far and it was great to see the technology being demonstrated at this scale. Test periods of over 1000 hours of continuous operation have been conducted, with the results showing CO2 purities of 95% is possible for capture efficiencies of 80%. There are also plans here for further expansion; with the research facility for CO2 compression being built next door whilst we were there and the research outputs so far contributing to the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study for a 300 MW dry sorbent-based post-combustion CO2 capture facility. The team have published numerous papers and reports on this research programme if more technical information is required.