Archive for category Electricity Production

NRG Energy / Powerspan 125MW CCS Demonstration Plant in Texas

Posted by on Monday, 1 March, 2010

US power station operator NRG Energy and technology company Powerspan have announced plans to develop a “commercial scale” carbon capture and sequestration facility for a coal power station.It will be attached to a power plant in WA Parish, Sugar Land, Texas, which NRG says is one of the largest and best baseload coal facilities in the country.

It will use Powerspan’s ECO2 technology, which captures carbon dioxide post combustion into an ammonia stream. Powergen says that the system has simpler capital equipment design and lower energy consumption than other carbon capture technologies.

NRG says that carbon capture projects on coal fuelled power plants have only been conducted to date at a scale of 1 to 5 megawatts; this one will capture carbon dioxide from flue gas equivalent to what a 125 megawatt power plant would emit.

It will rank “among the world’s largest CCS projects and potentially the first to achieve commercial scale capture and sequestration from an existing coal-fueled power plant,” NRG says.The carbon dioxide is expected to be used to enhanced oilfield recovery (EOR) in Houston, being buried in oilfields to push more oil out of the ground.

The plant is expected to capture 90 per cent of carbon dioxide from the flue gas stream and be operational in 2012.


Low-Cost CO2 Mitigation in Electricity, Oil, and Cement Production

Posted by on Monday, 1 March, 2010


Several low-cost opportunities exist for scrubbing CO2 from waste gas streams, utilizing spontaneous chemical reactions in the presence of water and inexpensive or waste alkaline compounds. These reactions convert CO2 to bicarbonate or carbonate in dissolved or solid form,
thus providing CO2 capture and low-risk CO2 storage underground, in the ocean, or in some cases on land. Useful by-products and co-benefits can also be generated by these processes. In certain
settings this approach will be significantly less energy intensive, less costly, and less risky than “conventional” molecular CO2 capture and geologic storage.

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NSW Power Stations Dismiss Renewable Energy

Posted by on Monday, 1 March, 2010

Two new fossil fuel power plants that will increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by between 5 and 15 per cent will move a step closer to construction this week after developers claimed renewable energy cannot feed a growing hunger for electricity.

The carbon emissions from the power stations, which would be added to existing plants at Mount Piper near Lithgow and Bayswater in the Hunter Valley, would equal a doubling of the number of cars on NSW roads.

But the two government-owned developers, Delta Electricity and Macquarie Generation, say they are essential to meet demand and replace older, less efficient coal-fired generators.

Their responses to public submissions dismiss the idea of investing in solar or wind power instead. Macquarie Generation says NSW will have trouble meeting the national 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 because ”other states have better renewable resources”.

The key decision facing the utilities is whether to run the two, 1000-megawatt plants on coal or gas. Burning gas generates slightly less than half the emissions of coal, but is likely to be more expensive and would require the construction of a pipeline to Mount Piper.

The NSW Greens believe the need for new sources of baseload power have been overestimated.


Biofuel Cell with Enzyme Modified Electrodes to Produce Electricity

Posted by on Monday, 1 March, 2010

French scientists have found a new energy source by extracting electricity from Mother Nature’s original power plants — plants.

The green chlorophyll in plants helps them convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen in the presence of sunlight, using a complex series of chemical reactions that humans have never been able to replicate. But scientists at France’s Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal have created a biofuel cell, made of two enzyme-modified electrodes, that can generate electricity using the glucose and oxygen produced by plants during photosynthesis.

Inserted into a cactus leaf, the cell generated a charge of 9 watts per square centimeter, but the output is relative to light intensity, which means that shining a brighter light on the cactus produces more power. The researchers say this technology could one day be used as an environmentally friendly way to convert solar energy into electricity without the need for photovoltaic panels.



Solar Thermal Retrofitted to Coal Power in NSW, Australia

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

New South Wales, Australia is the site of a pilot project where solar thermal technology reduces the use of fossil fuels. Coal and solar generate electricity using the same turbines.

Coal power plants can utilize solar to produce 15%-60% of the electricity. A higher quantity is possible, but requires significantly more modifications to be made to the coal boilers.

Mirrors, called Fresnal reflectors capture the sun’s rays and heat water in the tube above. Steam lines deliver the solar energy to the adjacent coal power plant where existing coal turbines are used to produce an electric current.

The ideal situation for retrofitting a coal power plant with solar includes:
* A large amount of land adjacent to the plant is neededfor solar collectors.
* High quantities of solar radiation.
* Coal power plants that are located in areas with a carbon tax or cap and trade system in place will have a higher return on investment from a solar retrofit.

“There’s a real dilemma facing operators of coal powered plants,” said John O’Donnell, Ausra’s Executive Vice President. “The price of coal has exploded recently and it continues to rise rapidly. Long-term coal contracts are coming in at 4 times the price of the last iteration of the contract.”

Australia recently ratified the Kyoto Protocol and will begin trading carbon in about a year. Carbon is likely to trade for $30-$60 per ton, according to John O’Donnell. Ausra’s solar thermal retrofits are cost effective around $30 a ton.


Selective CO2 Capturing Materials – ZIFs – to Result in Carbon Negative Power Production

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

Chemists from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) have made a major advancement in the development of CO2 capturing materials, which they report in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science. The scientists have demonstrated that they can successfully isolate and capture carbon dioxide with a class of new materials known as zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs). Their findings could lead to power plants efficiently capturing the greenhouse gas without using toxic materials, after which it can be stored in geological formations. The new materials make carbon capture less energy demanding, and can store up to five times as much CO2 than porous carbon materials being designed for the same task.

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