Phase II: UKy-CAER Heat-integrated Transformative CO2 Capture Process for Pulverized Coal Power Plants

Grants and Contracts Details


In 2017, the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UKy-CAER) was awarded Phase I of a three-phase down-select project worth $1.2M and is now applying for Phase II (DOE intends to award 4 from 9 current Phase I projects). The objective of the proposed work (Phases I-III) is to design, construct and operate the UKy-CAER transformational, post-combustion CO2 capture system (CCS) at a pulverized coal fired power generation station, at a 10 MWe large pilot scale, demonstrating an achievable cost of electricity with CO2 capture of less than $30/tonne CO2 captured. If successful, it will promote coal as a viable and cost-effective natural resource to produce electricity while the environment is maintained. The goals of Phase I included completion of pre-engineering design and an Environmental Information Volume, assembling a project team and selecting a host site. UKy-CAER has met each goal and is well positioned to receive a Phase II award, with a well-defined, low risk project. Phase II will be 12 months in duration, estimated from August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020, and includes front end engineering design, completion of the NEPA process and securing cost share for Phase III. Phase II funding is estimated at $3.75M, including $750K of cost share to be provided. Phase III is estimated to be 4 years in duration from 2021 to 2025, and includes detailed engineering design, construction, operation and evaluation of the unique UKy-CAER CCS. Total Phase III funding is estimated at $50M, including $10M of cost share to be provided. If awarded, this will be the largest single grant ever received by the University of Kentucky. The Wyoming Integrated Test Center (WITC), near Gillette, is chosen as the host site for several reasons. WITC is a public-private partnership specifically established as a platform for third-party CCS technology testing. WITC is accommodating and welcoming to UKy-CAER and is already equipped with flue gas, power and utility supply and has ample space available. As such, WITC offers significant cost savings over other existing power plants. Being the first large scale demonstration at WITC, UKy-CAER would hold an advantageous positon as WITC has expressed interest in retaining some or all site improvements for future testing, reducing decommissioning costs. In addition to WITC, filling the project team with expertise in environmental, health and safety; solvent development; process, equipment and control systems design and simulation are Smith Management Group, Electric Power Research Institute, Koch Modular Process Systems, Carbon Clean Solutions, USA, Carnegie Mellon University, Trimeric Corporation, University of Texas at Austin, and WorleyParsons. Building on demonstrated technology, Exhibit 1, and continuing established relationships with team members, UKy-CAER will advance its four-pronged transformative CO2 capture approach to the 10 MWe scale. Aspects of the UKy-CAER CCS include mass transfer intensification and continuous solvent recovery, two-stage solvent regeneration, heat integration, on-line feed-forward controls and an advanced solvent. The key transformational elements have been proven either experimentally, at the 0.7 MWe small pilot scale, or computationally, using industrially accepted software. Exhibit 1. UKy-CAER Four-Pronged Approach to CCS The UKy-CAER large pilot CCS will include modular equipment and free-standing columns, Exhibit 2, with a control scheme and energy computing block to continually minimize the CO2 capture energy penalty while responding quickly to a dynamic external demands. The UKy-CAER system, Exhibit 3, includes several technologies. A short absorber is divided into discretized packing (structural and random) sections with load-robust liquid/gas distributors to eliminate channel flow, intercooling and a pump around to boost the rich carbon loading. A unique solvent emission mitigation strategy reduces the solvent makeup requirement and nitrosamine emissions. A set of lean/rich heat exchangers and a split rich solvent feed to the pressurized primary stripper simultaneously addresses capital cost, energy consumption, response to load change and environmental impacts. An air-based secondary stripper recovers low-quality energy from the steam-driven stripper overhead condenser. It also draws ion-free water directly from the air, minimizing the need for additional amine loop makeup water and provides direct-cooling of the lean amine allowing for a size and duty reduction of the lean amine polisher. Finally, the CO2 laden exhaust air is recycled back to the boiler as secondary combustion air, boosting the CO2 concentration at the absorber inlet. CO2 capture of 90% with a 99.9% purity will be achieved at a Cost of Electricity (COE) of $116.90/MWh.
Effective start/end date4/1/185/31/21


  • Department of Energy: $2,433,339.00


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