U.S., Canada open oxy-combustion facility to test CO2 capture technology

The U.S. Department of Energy and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced Oct. 18 the opening of a new 1-MW thermal (MWth) facility to test an advanced process to capture CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The announcement was made during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility in Ottawa. The new facility will test oxy-fired pressurized fluidized bed combustion (oxy-PFBC) as a means to more efficiently and economically capture CO2 and help advance the commercialization of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the U.S. as well as Canada. CCUS is seen as a critical tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. Successful results from this project will help scale up the oxy-PFBC process to commercial scale.

“This project is a major step forward for CCUS,” said Douglas Hollett, DOE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. “It also highlights the importance of the long-standing U.S.-Canadian collaboration on clean energy technology development.”

Oxy-PFBC is based on the oxy-fuel combustion process, which uses pure oxygen instead of air to burn fuel and produces heat that generates electricity without the production of other pollutants. The oxy-PFCB process improves the efficiency of this process by concentrating the CO2 produced prior to combustion of fuel in the turbine, thereby greatly reducing the cost of capturing the CO2. The captured CO2 can then be stored or used beneficially to develop other products, including feedstock and chemicals.

The test plant is an ongoing collaborative project between DOE and NRCan, and its research and development lab, CanmetEnergy. The project is being led by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in partnership with the Linde Group, the Electric Power Research Institute, Alstom Power and Alberta Innovates.

The project received $13 million under DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s advanced combustion program, and is managed by the Department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

The oxy-PFBC project reflects the U.S. and Canada’s commitment to Mission Innovation, which was announced by President Obama and 19 other world leaders during the COP21 conference in Paris last December. Mission Innovation is a commitment by participating countries to accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation by doubling their clean energy research and development funding over the next five years.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.