The Pilot-Scale Advanced Capture Technology (PACT) facilities fuse together a comprehensive range of integrated research equipment with significant analytical capability to close the gap between bench-scale industrial and academic research, demonstration & development and large scale industrial pilot trials.
Facilities include the Process and System Modelling platforms, 250kW Oxyfuel combustion plant, 250kW Air combustion plant, Two Micro Gas Turbines (MGT), Solvent-based Carbon Capture Plant, Air compression system, Cryogenic CO2 storages units, Gas mixing facility and Biomass Grate Combustion Boiler.
The 5-day Industrial training was designed to drill students from the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) and research student members of the United Kingdom Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) working across the broad spectrum of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies on the challenges and prospects of the next generation Low carbon technologies.
General site safety induction and tour
The general site safety introduction and tour of the PACT facilities (mentioned above in the introduction) was the highlight of the first day. Most part of the first day was spent on personal safety, emergency response, detailed tour and induction of the MGT, Amine Capture Plant (ACP) and gas-mixing skid. Operational risks and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessment documentation and sign-off of the aforementioned was duly followed.
Micro Gas Turbine
The experimental experience on the MGT started on Tuesday, the gas turbine uses 330kW natural gas and is capable of producing up to 100kW of electricity with an efficiency of 33%. An integrated heat exchanger allows recovery of thermal energy and increase the process efficiency to 80% by providing hot water.The starting procedures were lengthy, but when we eventually got to work at steady state conditions, we could appreciate the opportunity to modify input parameters and monitor and investigate the effect that it has on the studied outputs. Having the opportunity to operate a gas turbine and modify the input conditions really made us appreciate the correlation between experimental parameters and the importance of studying these process variables. It felt like one day of hands-on experience was worth tens of days spent studying on the books. Especially when we started injecting more carbon dioxide in the turbine – to replicate a desired CO2 content in the flue gas to simulate flue gas recirculation. We gained an understanding of how this process conditions affected the performance of the carbon dioxide capture plant and therefore have an in depth appreciation of the wider picture involved in low carbon optimization process. Throughout the day, Karen Finney and Jean Michel’s mentoring and support was tremendous, providing us with guidance and great food for thought at all times. They taught us how to interpret and predict the process in order to improve the quality of the generated results. Overall, the day was greatly structured, never boring, with a great balance of learning and hands on experience. We all are very thankful for this fantastic opportunity.
Amine Capture Plant
An experimental campaign was carried out on the CO2 Capture Plant on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th day, this facility was designed to capture 1 tonne per day of CO2 and enables the development, assessment and process optimization for post-combustion capture. The Plant is integrated with the 250kW Air Combustion Plant and 300kW Gas turbine, enabling study from flue gases from Natural Gas Power Plants (NGCC) and pulverized fuel combustion plants that include coal, biomass and co-firing. Experiments were based on increasing CO2 concentration in the form of Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Selective Exhaust Gas recirculation (S-EGR) to enhance the mass flow rate of CO2 capture for every unit of thermal energy dispensed to regenerate the solvent. Study also included investigating the performance of dynamic operation of the Amine Capture Plant at 90% CO2 capture.
An educational tour of the 240kWth Biomass Grate Combustion Boiler (BGB) was embarked on. This facility forms part of the integrated resources at PACT, and connected to the Amine Capture Plant. The BGB combust a wide range of biomass fuel (low-grade fuel) on a moving grate and enables the study of carbon capture from different types of waste. Other applications include Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) on e.g. waste wood and biomass chips, fuel blend development and emission studies from different types of waste fuels.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Data Analysis
After 4 days intensive training, Data analysis sessions was on Friday presided over by Dr Karen Finney, Dr Muhammad Akram and Dr Kris Milkowski. Oscar Farias, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, presented a lecture on CFD modelling.
None of us were CFD experts but this gave us an insight into how data derived from the combustion chambers (solid and gaseous fuel) are translated into mathematical equations for modelling. We also had Dr Karen Finney, research fellow in gas turbine and emissions monitoring, come in to discuss the data obtained. She explained how proportional the amount of power output is to the engine emissions. During the experiments, the amount of CO2 injected into the gas turbine was varied leading to CO2 emissions increase. Dr Finney referred us to a published paper for further ways to analyse our data. Dr Akram, research fellow in carbon capture, gave a presentation on the how the data (Pressurize Hot Water [PHW] temperature and flow rate, mass flow of CO2 captured, CO2 loadings, flue gas flowrate) can be analysed and used to calculate relevant parameters (Specific Reboiler Duty [SRD], capture efficiency). The day concluded with Dr Kris Milkowski, PACT Business Development Manager, engaging in a closing discussion with us on how the entire week unfolded and finally we filled in a feedback form.