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IGCC System Analysis Utilizing Various Condenser Cooling Platforms, Including CO2 Sequestration and Water Desalination

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The Southwest US is in dire need of solutions for both potable water and electric generation. Water rights and agreements are quickly depleting all available stores in the region. One of the most abundant sources of fuel for the area, coal, could be easily used but is being underutilized because plants have site issues due to water use constraints.

The goal of this study is to evaluate the possibility of building a coal plant in the Southwest US. Objectives are to orient the plant to handle water constraints for the region, as well as helping the water situation in the general area of the plant.

This study shows the affect of switching a conventional IGCC plant to various condenser types and adding CO2 sequestration to address surface water, and pollutant concerns. Condenser types investigated include a standard once-through water cooled condenser (WCC), a direct air cooled condenser (DACC), and a wet tower condenser (WTC). The sequestration system used incorporates water-gas shift reactors and a two-stage Selexol system for both sulfur and CO2 removal. Water generation is handled by a novel hydrate desalination plant, using water from saline aquifers in the region and CO2 from sequestration.

The results show that changing from the once-through WCC to the DACC adversely impacts the system performance, cost, and economics. Addition of the sequestration system to the DACC system further decreases performance and increases costs. The CO2 separated at the plant is sequestered by injection into glacial saline aquifers. Switching out the DACC with a WTC using a non-traditional cooling medium helps the system by regaining some of the lost power, and decreasing costs. The non-traditional cooling medium is saline aquifer water pumped from a deep glacial aquifer.

The desalination plant supplies 23.6 million gallons per day of potable water for general consumption by utilizing the sequestered CO2 and the saline aquifer water. The generation of water has no affect on the capital cost of the overall system, since sale of the potable water covers the plants capital and operating costs. However, the profit margin realized by the sale of water does offset the operating costs of the overall system, improving the economics of the combined plant. Removal of saline water from the aquifer reduces or eliminates pressure growth that might result from injection of CO2 into the aquifer. This reduces the potential of CO2 leakage from the aquifer.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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