A project funded by the European Union and led by SINTEF in Norway with ten other European partners aims to demonstrate a cost-effective CO2 capture technology that could herald a new generation of power-generation plants with integrated CO2 capture.
With a budget of €8.2 million, the DemoCLOCK project is based on a special version of a technology called Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC), believed to be cost-effective and has already been tested in the laboratory with promising results.
CLC is believed to be on the verge of becoming one of the most cost-effective ways of capturing CO2 from power plants. DemoCLOCK aims to demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of implementing a packed bed-based chemical looping combustion (CLC) concept in large-scale power plants. This version of CLC is even less complex and more compact than the original CLC concept.
A medium-scale demonstration of a 500kW packed bed CLC reactor in the Elcogas company’s Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant in Puertollano in Spain, the largest IGCC power plant in Europe.
In packed bed CLC, the oxygen carrier material is fixed in a reactor and alternatively exposed to fuel gas and air streams. This arrangement essentially creates the fuel reactor and the air reactor alternatively in a single reactor and therefore has all the CO2 capture advantages of the standard CLC process described above.
Another major advantage of this setup is that the oxygen carrier material no longer has to be transferred between the two reactors. This greatly simplifies the process and is expected to speed up its commercialisation. The packed bed CLC concept was originally developed by a research group at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands (formerly at the University of Twente in the Netherlands).
The packed bed CLC will be used to convert gasified solid hydrocarbons (syngas) into hot streams of CO2 and oxygen-poor air which can potentially be used for electricity generation. Packed bed reactor technology thus opens up the prospect of using various types of fuel (e.g. coal, petcoke, biomass).
The project aims to modify the current energy generation system to make it more sustainable and less dependent on imported fuels. This will help to address pressing challenges of security of supply and climate change, while increasing European industrial competitiveness.