Reporting from the ECR Winter School 2015 – Robin Irons (E.ON) speaking on “Important issues for fossil power plants for the 21st Century”

This blog was provided by Hui Meng, University of Hull, whose attendance at the ECR Winter School 2015 was supported by the UKCCSRC.

Dr Robin Irons presented on “Important issues for fossil power plants for the 21st Century” at the 2015 UKCCSRC Winter School at the University of Nottingham. He presented that the range of technologies deployed in the market is much broader than ever before, and that these technologies need to be further developed within the trilemma which includes the environment, security of supply, and affordability. Nowadays, the market has significant penetration from nuclear, wind, photovoltaics, coal, gas and biomass energy, and tidal energy and energy storage are also under development. In the UK, 30% of energy will come from wind by the end of 2025, and the tidal turbine system will be complete. At present, the electricity grid supply is differently priced for peak and off-peak time, and this is a challenge. He also showed a diagram which illustrated the pressures on market price.


A diagram of a coal-fired power plant was also presented and described in detail, with the use of a twin track approach to abate CO2 from coal. Power plant design life will be 25-40 years. There are some advantages of power plant, like components coming to temperature quickly, minimisation of transients, reduction of integration, and re-optimisation of performance.

Additionally, Dr Irons presented combustion issues in low-carbon fossil power plants for the 21st Century, explaining what is new in the 21st Century for low-carbon fossil power plant. Also, he gave a case study of E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows and described many details about this biomass plant through diagrams and parameters. Finally, he presented the combustion issues in CCS, and gave an example of oxyfuel combustion.



In conclusion, the fundamentals of fossil-based power generation haven’t changed, and the market-place continues to change requiring new innovations, because fuel composition changes, emissions constraints tighten, operational requirements mean old plants must operate in different ways, and new cycles or configurations come to market.