Demonstrations of coal-fired oxy-fuel technology for carbon capture and storage and issues with commercial deployment

As one of the three major carbon capture technologies associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS), oxy-fuel technology is currently undergoing rapid development with a number of international demonstration projects of scale 10-30 MW(e) having commenced and units with a scale of 250-300 MW(e) emerging in the progression towards commercialisation. Industrial scale testing of coal combustion and burners is also being conducted by technology vendors. The paper details the current international status of the technology; the contributions of current demonstrations; and a roadmap for commercial deployment. At its current state of maturity oxy-fuel technology may be considered semi-commercial, in that even if a unit was economically viable and could be provided by a vendor, the generator and vendor would need to share the technical risk. This is because guarantees could not at present be provided for operating characteristics associated with mature technologies such as reliability, emissions, ramp rate and spray control. This is due to the maturity of the technology associated with the capability of vendors and associated design and operational uncertainties, associated with a lack of plant experience at scale. The projected development of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is provided, using an ASU for oxygen supply, standard furnace designs with externally recirculated flue gas, and limited thermal integration of the ASU and compression plant with the power plant. Potential features of second generation technology are listed. Listed issues delaying deployment indicate that market, economic, legal and issues of public acceptance are more significant than technical barriers. (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V.