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Gas Turbines: Electric Power

Oxygen Transport Membranes for Ultra-Supercritical (USC) Power Plants With Very Low CO2 Emissions

[+] Author and Article Information
Marco Gambini

Michela Vellini

 University of Rome “Tor Vergata,”Via del Politecnico, 1-00133 Rome, Italyvellini@ing.uniroma2.it

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 134(8), 081801 (Jun 19, 2012) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006482 History: Received November 07, 2011; Revised March 20, 2012; Published June 19, 2012; Online June 19, 2012

Coal combustion for electric power generation is one of the major contributors to anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are currently intensively investigated in order to mitigate CO2 emissions. The technique which is currently the most pursued is post combustion scrubbing of the flue gas, due to the potential to retrofit post combustion capture to existing power plants. However, it also comes with a substantial energy penalty. To reduce the energy demand of CO2 processing, the so-called oxyfuel technology presents an option to increase the concentration of CO2 in the flue gas. Here, the coal is burned in a mixture of oxygen and recycled flue gas. Hence, the flue gas primarily consists of CO2 and water vapor, which can be easily condensed. In general, there are two different techniques for oxygen production in oxyfuel power plants: cryogenic air separation (it is a method which can be easily implemented since it is already well established in industry) and a mixed metal oxide ceramic membrane (ITM or OTM) operating at high temperatures (it is a new process for O2 production, which is under development). In the last ten years, efforts in the efficient utilization of energy and reduction of emissions have indirectly stimulated research in mixed conducting membranes. In fact, the presently available cryogenic air separation process consumes a significant fraction of the generating plant’s output and reduces its efficiency. Oxygen transport membrane (OTM) integration with an ultra-supercritical (USC) power plant is, indeed, considered a promising technology that will lead to economic and energy savings compared to the previous solution. In this paper, we discuss the actual potentialities and limits of OTM and their integration in USC power plants.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Conceptual scheme of an OTM

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Figure 2

Steps involved in the transport of oxygen through an OTM

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Figure 3

(a) Membrane divided in finite elements along axial direction (countercurrent configuration), and (b) control volume of a single element considered for energy balance (the other stream properties: mole flow, partial pressure, etc. follow the same nomenclature)

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Figure 4

Schematic of OTM integration with a fossil fuel boiler using two different options: (a) with sweep gas, and (b) without sweep gas

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Figure 5

Full plant layout (reference case)

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Figure 6

Main integration of a USC power plant in oxycombustion (equipped with (a) ASU, and (b) and (c) with OTM)

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Figure 7

Model results for the two reference configurations: OTM with sweep gas (left side) and OTM without sweep (right side); oxygen partial pressures and local oxygen flux and temperature profiles as a function of membrane area

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