DOE Invests in Super-Critical Carbon Dioxide Turbine Research to Replace Steam for Electric Power Generators

The U.S. Department of Energy hopes to create a more efficient turbine that uses CO2 to make electricity

Source: www.scientificamerican.com

“> […]

Whether burning coal, concentrating sunlight or splitting atoms, most thermal power plants use the energy for the same thing: heating water into steam to drive a turbine. Steam-based generation produces 80 percent of the world’s electricity.

After more than a century of incremental improvements in the steam cycle, engineers have plucked most of the low-hanging fruit and are chasing diminishing returns, spending millions of dollars for every percentage point of efficiency improvement. These upgrades propagate to other steps in electricity production, allowing power plants to extract more work for a given unit of fuel.

In a fossil fuel-fired generator, this means less carbon dioxide emissions for the same unit of electricity produced. For a solar thermal plant, this results in higher capacity at lower operating costs.

Now engineers are looking into replacing steam with supercritical carbon dioxide, a technique that could unlock up to 50 percent greater thermal efficiency using a smaller, cheaper turbine.

Last month, in a budget briefing and in two different hearings before Congress, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz specifically mentioned the Department of Energy’s supercritical carbon dioxide initiatives. The department’s 2016 budget request allocates $44 million for research and development on this front, including a 10-megawatt supercritical turbine demonstration system.

A simpler, smaller, cleaner machine
The term “supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature and pressure, 31 degrees Celsius and 73 atmospheres. Under these conditions, carbon dioxide has a density similar to its liquid state and fills containers the way it would as a gas.

Coffee producers are already using supercritical carbon dioxide to extract caffeine from beans. Materials companies are also using it to make plastics and ceramics.

“From a thermodynamic perspective, it’s a very good process fluid,” said Klaus Brun, machinery director at the Southwest Research Institute, a nonprofit research and development group. “You get a fairly efficient cycle and a reasonable firing temperature.”

In its supercritical state, carbon dioxide is nearly twice as dense as steam, resulting in a very high power density. Supercritical carbon dioxide is easier to compress than steam and allows a generator to extract power from a turbine at higher temperatures.

The net result is a simpler turbine that can be 10 times smaller than its steam equivalent. A steam turbine usually has between 10 and 15 rotor stages. A supercritical turbine equivalent would have four.

“We’re looking at a turbine rotor shaft with four stages on it that’s 4 inches in diameter, 4 feet long and could power 1,000 homes,” said Richard Dennis, turbine technology manager at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

He noted that the idea of a supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle dates back to the 1940s, but steam cycles were already very efficient, well-understood and cheap, creating an uphill slog for a new power block to catch on. In addition, engineers were still finding ways to improve the combustion side of power production, so the need to improve the generation side of the plant wasn’t as acute until recently. […]”<

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Amager Resource Center Copenhagen, Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

The waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen was selected as a citation winner in the 62nd Annual Progressive Architecture Awards.

Source: www.architectmagazine.com

“BIG won the competition for the 1.02 million-square-foot Amager Resource Center with this widely touted scheme, which promises to turn a waste-to-energy plant into a popular attraction. By integrating a ski slope into the roof and a rock-climbing wall up one face, the architects build upon the project’s location: a part of Copenhagen on the island of Amager that has become a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts, thanks to its parks, beaches, dunes, and a lagoon for kayaking and windsurfing.  At 100 meters tall, the center will be one of the city’s tallest landmarks when completed—and a striking example of building-as-landscape. Indeed, the client has taken to calling it the Amager Bakke, or Amager Hill.”

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What is “Levelized Cost of Energy” or LCOE?

As a financial tool, LCOE is very valuable for the comparison of various generation options. A relatively low LCOE means that electricity is being produced at a low cost, with higher likely returns for the investor. If the cost for a renewable technology is as low as current traditional costs, it is said to have reached “Grid Parity“.

Source: www.renewable-energy-advisors.com

>”LCOE (levelized cost of energy) is one of the utility industry’s primary metrics for the cost of electricity produced by a generator. It is calculated by accounting for all of a system’s expected lifetime costs (including construction, financing, fuel, maintenance, taxes, insurance and incentives), which are then divided by the system’s lifetime expected power output (kWh). All cost and benefit estimates are adjusted for inflation and discounted to account for the time-value of money. […]

LCOE Estimates for Renewable Energy

When an electric utility plans for a conventional plant, it must consider the effects of inflation on future plant maintenance, and it must estimate the price of fuel for the plant decades into the future. As those costs rise, they are passed on to the ratepayer. A renewable energy plant is initially more expensive to build, but has very low maintenance costs, and no fuel cost, over its 20-30 year life. As the following 2012 U.S. Govt. forecast illustrates, LCOE estimates for conventional sources of power depend on very uncertain fuel cost estimates. These uncertainties must be factored into LCOE comparisons between different technologies.

LCOE estimates may or may not include the environmental costs associated with energy production. Governments around the world have begun to quantify these costs by developing various financial instruments that are granted to those who generate or purchase renewable energy. In the United States, these instruments are called Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). To learn more about environmental costs, visit our Greenhouse Gas page.

LCOE estimates do not normally include less tangible risks that may have very large effects on a power plant’s actual cost to ratepayers. Imagine, for example, the LCOE estimates used for nuclear power plants in Japan before the Fukushima incident, compared to the eventual costs for those plants.

Location

An important determination of photovoltaic LCOE is the system’s location. The LCOE of a system built in Southern Utah, for example, is likely to be lower than that of an identical system built in Northern Utah. Although the cost of building the two systems may be similar, the system with the most access to the sun will perform better, and deliver the most value to its owner. […]”<

 

 

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University to Install Combined Heat and Power Plant for Energy Savings and Climate Goals

“Construction is will soon begin on a $96 million combined heat and power (CHP) plant in another aging facility near the river’s edge that will dramatically cut the campus’ carbon footprint while driving down the cost of energy”

Source: www.midwestenergynews.com

>” […] The project, in the 1912-vintage Old Main Utility Building, will produce enough steam to heat the entire campus and meet about half of its electricity demand.

CHP and carbon reductions

CHP will be a major tactic in the goal of reducing the University’s carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020, said Shane Stennes, who serves as the University Services’ sustainability coordinator. The Southeast Steam Plant, itself a CHP facility, mainly used natural gas but still had a small measure of coal in its fuel mix, along with oat hulls.

“The carbon reduction is partly due to a change in fuel but mostly a result of increased efficiency,” Stennes said. The ability to use the waste heat from the electricity generation process is the real reason the University will see carbon emissions plummet, he added.

“From the sustainability point of view this plant is the right thing to do,” he said, noting that in 2008 the University’s campus system agreed to a net zero scenario in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

CHP is on a bit of a roll. President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2012 promoting wider adoption of CHP and the state Department of Commerce recently held stakeholders’ meetings on the issue to determine how the state might help in moving forward projects.

The potential was described in a Commerce policy brief associated with the stakeholder meetings: “Power generation waste heat in Minnesota is nearly equal to the total requirement for heat energy in buildings and industry.” […]

Minnesota has at latest count 55 CHP systems in the state, according to the ICF International.

Reasons for CHP at the U

A campus CHP comes with another advantage by creating an “island” of energy independence should a regional blackout hit. Many major Midwest and coastal universities have CHP in part to rely less on power grids that are vulnerable to major storms or other weather maladies, he said.

“We see CHP as a way to be competitive with other schools and to protect research if we had a catastrophe,” he said.

The need for more boilers, said Malmquist, stems from growing demand for power. Although the nearly dozen new buildings constructed in the last few years meet rigorous energy efficiency standards they tend to demand more power due to their function as research centers.

The Biomedical Discovery District, a new physics laboratory, technology classroom and other science-related buildings, as well as a new residence hall, have added square footage for steam and electricity, he said.

“The buildings we’re putting up today are more energy intensive than the ones we’ve been taking down,” said Malmquist. […]”<

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Swedish Stirling Engine Generator Converts Low Quality Landfill Gas to Energy in Poland

Swedish Stirling Engine generator specialist, Cleanergy supplies its GasBox generators to two landfill sites in Poland for the production of energy from low quality methane gas emitted from two major, following a successful pilot project earlier in the year.

Source: www.waste-management-world.com

>” […] GasBox – the centrepiece of its Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system – has been specifically developed to generate electricity and heat from low-quality methane gas produced by the decomposition of organic matter at the 2000+ landfill sites across Europe, most of which are more than 10 years old.

According to Cleanergy, many such landfill sites choose to flare the methane they produce.

The European Union Landfill Directive of 1999 states that flaring is only an option if it is impossible to extract energy from the methane gas. But up until today, older landfill sites have often broken these directives because the gas combustion engines traditionally used at newer landfills where methane levels are above 40% simply cannot produce electricity from lower grade, ‘dirty’ methane.

However, at the two Polish landfill sites the methane was released straight into the atmosphere rather than being flared.  To address this, Cleanergy’s GasBox was deployed at the Regional Centre of Waste Management in Domaszkowice in Poland in August.

This 25 hectare landfill site closed in the  2000. Since the installation of the GasBox, the electricity generated has been used to power equipment and to heat and electrify buildings at the site.

Following this success, Cleanergy’s CHP system has also been deployed at the Waste Neutralisation Enterprise in Sulnówko, a 7.5 hectare landfill site.

Anders Koritz, CEO at Cleanergy commented: “We developed our GasBox to meet a specific need – a complete CHP system that can run on low-grade methane gas. Sure enough the industry response since our launch in June has been amazing.”

According to Cleanergy its GasBox addresses this specific problem and is able to produce both electricity and heat from a methane gas concentration down to 18%.

Installed inside a modular container, Cleanergy’s GasBox is an autonomous and flexible stirling engine unit. Also inside the container is a real-time power management system with remote access; a fuel pipe; plus a heat and electricity connection to a house/factory/warehouse with optional grid functionality.

With a claimed ROI of three to five years, the company said that its GasBox is now commercially deployed at several locations in Norway, Slovenia, Sweden (in collaboration with the Swedish Energy Agency) and the UK. […]”<

 

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US EPA Awards Energy Star to 3 CHP (Cogen) Projects

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognised three combined heat and power projects with ENERGY STAR CHP awards.

Source: www.cospp.com

>”[…] Eastman Chemical Company’s Kingsport, Tennessee, Campus plant (pictured) was recognised for its 200 MW CHP system, which includes 17 GE steam turbine generators. The Kingsport industrial campus, one of the largest chemical manufacturing sites in North America, employs nearly 7000 people […]

Seventeen boilers produce steam to support manufacturing processes, help meet the space heating/cooling needs of 550 buildings, and drive 17 GE and two ABB steam turbine generators with a combined design output of 200 MW. With an operating efficiency of more than 78%, the predominantly coal-fired system requires approximately 14% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production, saving Eastman Chemical approximately US$45 million per year.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, was granted an award for its 3.8 MW CHP system, powered by a Caterpillar lean-burn low-emissions reciprocating natural gas generator set. The system supplies 60% of the annual power needs for the site and approximately 40% of the thermal energy used to support R&D operations and heat, cool, and dehumidify the facility’s buildings.

With an operating efficiency of more than 62%, the system requires approximately 29% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production, saving approximately $1.1 million per year.

Merck’s CoGen3 CHP system at its West Point facility was also recognised by the EPA. A pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing, R&D and warehouse and distribution centre, the project is powered by a 38 MW GE 6B heavy-duty gas turbine and recovers heat to produce steam to heat, cool and dehumidify approximately 7 million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and office space.

The system, designed by Burns & Roe, is the third CHP system that Merck has installed at the 400-acre West Point, Pennsylvania campus. With an operating efficiency of more than 75%, the natural gas-fired system requires approximately 30% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production.”<

 

 

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Combined Heat & Power Drives Biomass Demand

New analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) forecasts CHP and industrial heat demand are set to drive global bioenergy consumption over the coming decade and more.

Source: www.cospp.com

>”The trend towards modern and industrial uses of biomass is growing rapidly, the report notes, adding that biomass-based steam generation is particularly interesting for the chemical and petrochemical sectors, food and textile sectors, where most production processes operate with steam. Low and medium temperature process steam used in the production processes of these sectors can be provided by boilers or CHP plants. Combusting biogas in CHP plants is another option already pursued in northern European countries, especially in the food sector, where food waste and process residues can be digested anaerobically to produce biogas, IRENA adds. A recent IRENA analysis (2014b) estimated that three quarters of the renewable energy potential in the industry sector is related to biomass-based process heat from CHP plants and boilers. Hence, biomass is the most important technology to increase industrial renewable energy use, they conclude.

In industry, demand is estimated to reach 21 EJ in the REmap 2030, up to three-quarters of which (15 EJ) will be in industrial CHP plants to generate low- and medium-temperature process heat (about two-thirds of the total CHP output). In addition to typical CHP users such as pulp and paper other sectors with potential include the palm-oil or natural rubber production sectors in rapidly developing countries like Malaysia or Indonesia where by-products are combusted in ratherinefficient boilers or only in power producing plants.

As a result, installed thermal CHP capacity would reach about 920 GWth with an additional 105 GWth of stand-alone biomass boilers and gasifiers for process heat generation could be installed worldwide by 2030. This is a growth of more than 70% in industrial biomass-based process heat generation capacity compared to the Reference Case.

Biomass demand for district heating will reach approximately 5 EJ by 2030 while the power sector, including fuel demand for on-site electricity generation in buildings and on-site CHP plants at industry sites, will require approximately another 31 EJ for power generation (resulting in the production of nearly 3,000 TWh per year in 2030, according to IRENA.

The total installed biomass power generation capacity in Remap 2030 reaches 390 GWe. Of this total, around 178 GWe is the power generation capacity component of CHPs installed in the industry and district heating sectors.”<

 

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Manufacturer Installs 10 ORC “Machines” to Municipal District Heating System in Europe

RENO, NV–(Marketwired – Aug 7, 2014) – ElectraTherm, a leader in distributed heat to power generation, commissioned 10 Green Machine 4400s in Levice, Slovakia in June 2014.

Source: www.cospp.com

>”[…]The 10-machine installation utilizes the waste heat from two Rolls Royce gas turbines through a combined cycle. Exhaust from the turbines goes through a heat recovery steam generator, and lower temperature exhaust gas that cannot be utilized produces hot water to meet demand for heating on the municipality’s district heating system. The remaining heat runs through ElectraTherm’s Green Machines to generate clean energy and attain attractive feed-in-tariff incentives.

Hot water enters the Green Machine at between 77-116°C (170-240°F), where it heats a working fluid into pressurized vapor, using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies. As the vapor expands, it drives ElectraTherm’s patented twin screw power block, which spins an electric generator and produces emission free power. Run in parallel, the Green Machines in Levice generate approximately 500 kWe. While combined cycle gas turbines are widely used throughout Europe for power generation and district heating, this is the first application of its kind to utilize ElectraTherm’s ORC technology for the lower temperature waste heat.

The Green Machines help the site reach maximum efficiency levels through heat that would otherwise go to waste. ElectraTherm’s Green Machine generates power from waste heat on applications such as internal combustion engines, biomass, geothermal/co-produced fluids and solar thermal. ElectraTherm’s product line includes units with 35, 65 and 110 kW outputs and offers stand alone or packaged solutions. Read more about Green Machine products at http://electratherm.com/products/.  […]”<

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Energy Efficiency and Renewables Drives Smart Grid Technologies Market – Research & Developments

The market for smart grid technologies is evolving rapidly as the need for a more responsive, automated power grid rises worldwide.  …

Source: www.navigantresearch.com

>”The fundamental technology for injecting intelligence into the grid has been in existence for years – more than a decade in some cases. However, the past 18 to 24 months have seen accelerating technological advancements and shifting priorities among utility industry stakeholders.

Transmission system upgrades are driven by the need to interconnect offshore or remote wind and solar farms, as well as ongoing electrification across Asia Pacific and developing regions. Falling costs for devices and communications networking, combined with the increasing emphasis on reliability and energy efficiency, will lead to robust growth in the substation and distribution automation (SA and DA) markets. Meanwhile, government mandates, especially in Europe, will drive strong smart meter penetration gains over the next decade. At the same time, utilities are facing more competition than ever and squeezed margins. These issues, along with the proliferation of smart devices in the grid, will drive impressive growth in demand for more powerful utility IT solutions and analytics. Navigant Research forecasts that global smart grid technology revenue will grow from $44.1 billion in 2014 to $70.2 billion in 2023.

This Navigant Research report analyzes the global market for smart grid technologies, with a focus on transmission upgrades, SA, DA, information and operations technology (IT/OT) software and services, and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The study provides a detailed analysis of the market drivers, challenges, and trends, as well as regional and country factors, for each smart grid technology segment. Global market forecasts for revenue, broken out by technology, application, component, and region, extend through 2023. The report also provides profiles of key grid infrastructure vendors and includes information on 150-plus other types of companies, major global utilities, and smart grid-related industry associations.

Key Questions Addressed:

Which smart grid technology segments are the largest and how quickly are they expected to grow?

What are the key market drivers and challenges for each smart grid technology segment?

What are the most important new trends affecting the pace of investment in smart grid technologies?

What regional factors are affecting the pace of investment in smart grid technology?

Who are the key vendors in each category of smart grid technology?   […] “<

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UK Bioenergy: Dedicated Biomass Plants no Competition for CHP Plants

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

As Ed Davey, U.K. Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, spoke to the Environment Council in Brussels, saying: “We call for urgent action on reaching an ambitious 2030 energy and climate change agreement, to spur on investment in green, reliable energy,” at home in Britain t

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>”Biomass with CHP

In contrast with dedicated power only biomass plants, biomass-fired combined heat and power installations are continuing to attract investment in the UK, given that they still qualify for significant government support.

A number of these projects have made advances over the previous few months. For instance, RWE Innogy UK (formerly RWE npower renewables), is in the final stages of commissioning its Markinch Biomass CHP plant in Fife, Scotland. This 65 MW plant will supply up to 120 tonnes of industrial steam per hour to paper manufacturer Tullis Russell. RWE Innogy is investing some £200 million (US$300 million) in the development, which was built by Metso and Jacobs.

In October 2013 Estover Energy revealed that planning consent has been granted by Dover District Council for its proposal to develop a £65 million (US$100 million) biomass-fired CHP in the South East of England at Sandwich, in Kent. Generating 11-15 MWe and 8-12 MWth, the plant will use locally sourced low-grade wood as fuel.

Construction is forecast to begin in spring 2014 at the Discovery Park science and technology park.

And in the July, the Helius Energy-developed CoRDe biomass energy plant in Rothes, Speyside, Scotland began operations, using by-products from nearby malt whisky distilleries to produce renewable energy and an animal feed protein supplement, Pot Ale Syrup. Construction began in 2011 on the 8.32 MWe and 66.5 t/h pot ale evaporator plan. The total development and construction costs of the project were £60.5 million. …”<

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