Energy grids are increasingly moving towards renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power, but they cannot meet the current demands of energy consumers. For energy security, these grids still need a stable and reliable baseline energy source and backup solution. Most electric companies use fossil fuel burning power plants as this baseline solution. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) initiative is geared towards novel research to design or retrofit fossil fuel burning plants to be more environmentally friendly as well as more economically meet customer needs.

FEED Study for Novel Low-Emissions Fossil Fuel Power Plant

The U.S. DOE awarded ISTC and Prairie Research Institute researchers $25 million to conduct a three-year study to design a next-generation power plant as part of the Coal FIRST initiative. City Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) in Springfield, IL will serve as the project host site. Business cases will also be reviewed for two alternative greenfield sites in North Dakota and Wyoming. One benefit of the chosen host site is leveraging already existing carbon capture research for Linde-BASF solvent technology occurring at CWLP’s Dallman Unit #4.

The project will engineer a low-emission, energy efficient, integrated design of newly established technologies such as:

  • a hybrid gas turbine and USC coal boiler,
  • energy storage,
  • captured carbon dioxide for enhanced algae to energy production, and
  • Linde-BASF carbon capture system.

This innovative design maximizes the energy and value of the fossil fuels that would otherwise be lost in a traditional fossil fuel burning plant.

Objectives for this project include:

  • develop engineering design,
  • evaluate host site and complete Environmental Information Volume (EIV),
  • conduct investment case analysis, and
  • complete a system integration design study.

Design requirements for this project include:

  • 50+% percent of the planned fuel input (by HHV) be coal mined in the United States,
  • 50+% of the planned plant equipment (on a dollar basis) be fabricated in the United States, and
  • 75+% of the planned labor in design and construction be United States based.

The research team includes members from both public and private sector organizations. These organizations include the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (ISTC/PRI lead team), Doosan, Kiewit, Barr Engineering, Microbeam, Envergex, University of North Dakota, Linde, and Global Algae Innovation. The team believes that a successful completion of the objectives and design requirements means the feasibility study will seamlessly transition to a build and operate phase.

The full project title is “Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) Study for Hybrid Gas Turbine and USC Coal Boiler (HGCC) Concept Plant with Post Combustion Carbon Capture and Energy Storage System at City Water, Light and Power Plant.”

Read more about the project on the ISTC blog.