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Systems Analysis and Modeling


  1. Modeling the impact of power plant cycling and development of model-based optimal mitigation strategies:

    As the deployment of renewable energy sources increases, fossil-fuel power plants that were designed to operate at base-load conditions will need to be able to cycle their load.

    1. The purpose of this research is to quantify the effects of cycling on fossil-fuel power plants in terms of increased operating and maintenance (O&M) costs and the accompanying changes in efficiency and emissions that cycling operation will cause.
    2. This information will be utilized to develop optimal control strategies and to identify retrofit solutions to existing power plants to allow their continued efficient and cost-effective operation under these new operational conditions.
    3. Industrial partners, including Duke Energy, Southern Company, and General Electric, are providing operational and component data to guide this research, which has significant potential in increasing the competitiveness of fossil generation in the commercial sector. (CERC-ACTC Phase II)
  2. Advances in simulation modeling lead to new optimal designs for CO2 source-sink matching in Chinese and U.S. basins:

    Researchers in the United States (Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Indiana Geological Survey (IGS)) and China (Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IRSM)) built the first-ever cost surface for linking CO2 sources to geologic sinks for the Ordos Basin.

    1. The cost surface—which is used to identify potential CO2 pipeline routes—was built using multiple geographic layers including topography, population, and land use. The cost surface was then used to develop carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) infrastructure that connects hundreds of existing CO2 sources to a set of nine potential reservoir regions provided by the Chinese partners.
    2. CO2 source data, including industry type (e.g., coal-fired power plants, iron and steel industry) and emission quantity, were used to optimize CO2 management schemes for targeted capture scenarios ranging from 10 MtCO2/yr to more than 250 MtCO2/yr.
    3. The LANL-IGS-IRSM project team is currently working on the next-generation CCUS infrastructure advancements such as electricity generation targets and CO2 utilization opportunities including CO2-enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR). Similar system analyses have been performed in the Illinois basin for the Gibson Generating Station in cooperation with Duke Energy (U.S.).
    4. In addition, LANL, IGS, and the University of Wyoming, working in both the Illinois basin and the Rock Springs Uplift (RSU) in Wyoming, have also demonstrated that inclusion of reservoir uncertainty is key to developing realistic estimates of CO2 storage capacity and injectivity.
    5. Results from this work are being examined by local and regional leaders in China who are planning for implementation of CCUS. (CERC-ACTC Phase 1 and Phase II)
  3. Further utilization of post-combustion simulations:

    Lawrence Livermore National Lab (U.S.) is modeling a solvent developed by Babcock & Wilcox Company (U.S.) to conduct comparisons with research performed earlier by CERC scientists from Huaneng (China) and Duke Energy (U.S.).

    1. This research will generate additional data points on the cost of capture while leveraging existing work to yield further benefits that were not initially anticipated.
    2. In CERC–ACTC Phase II, the model will be reconfigured to include Duke Buck Station (a 600 MW combined cycle gas turbine) and re-run to compare cost and performance data on a gas fired power plant. (CERC-ACTC Phase I and Phase II)
  4. Modeling of Huaneng Shidongkou post-combustion capture system:

    Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (U.S.) and Huaneng CERI (China) used operational data from the 600 MW Shanghai Shidongkou Power Plant to build and validate a simulation model for the post-combustion capture mixed-amine absorption process. The model allows process performance assessments under varying decision-making environments.

    1. Researchers completed the conceptual simulation of a 1-million ton per year post-combustion CO2 capture system in Duke Energy’s Gibson-3 station using technology developed by China Huaneng and demonstrated it at the Shanghai Shidongkou Power Plant. This effectively advances new capture and solvent technologies for the development of efficient CO2 capture in existing coal plant retrofits.
    2. The simulation model revealed a number of design advances and suggested a cost of US$61–$68 per metric tonne versus previous estimates of US$100 per metric tonne, if the same system were installed at Duke’s Gibson 3 plant in Indiana.
    3. Laboratory research conducted at the University of Kentucky (U.S.) and Tsinghua University (China) under this theme identified a two-phase solvent and new catalyst family with record activity levels. (CERC-ACTC Phase 1)
  5. Reduced energy penalty from post-combustion CO2 capture:

    Researchers from Tsinghua University (China) and West Virginia University (U.S.) simulated a steady-state scenario for CO2 capture from a super-critical pulverized coal power plant using a monoethanolamine (MEA) solvent.

    1. Optimizing the design and operating parameters, researchers were able to reduce the simulated net energy penalty by 2.5%—from 12.7% to 10.2%.
    2. Application of advanced modeling and simulation tools enable improvements in technology and systems integration not otherwise possible, due to the complex nature of the many interacting processes present in large-scale power generators with carbon capture.
    3. Such improvements are expected to guide designs that will decrease cost and improve performance of CO2 capture technologies. (CERC-ACTC Phase I)