Large Pilot-Scale Projects

The U.S. has major generating capacity for burning coal and Illinois has the largest reserves of bituminous coal in the nation. ISTC and the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), both part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, and their project partners are researching the feasibility of a large pilot scale demonstration of carbon capture technology at the state’s coal burning facilities.

The projects are funded by the National Energy Technology Laboratory - Department of Energy (DOE-NETL). Publications and presentations related to the project are available in IDEALS.

Abbott Power Plant Pilot Study

Abbott Power Plant: brick building with tall think windows and two smoke stacks.The researchers looked at the large pilot scale testing of an advanced solvent based CO2 capture process aimed at capturing ~300 TPD CO2 at 90% capture rate from existing coal fired boilers at the Abbott Power Plant on the campus of the University of Illinois (UIUC). It was proposed to use the Linde-BASF novel amine-based advanced CO2 capture technology, which has already shown the potential to be cost-effective, energy efficient and compact at the 0.5-1.5 MWe pilot scales. The overall objective of this project was to design and install a scaled-up system of nominal 15 MWe size, integrate it with the Abbott Power Plant flue gas, steam and other utility systems, and demonstrate the viability of continuous operation under realistic conditions with high efficiency and capacity.

Scientists and engineers at ISTC, ISGS, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) teamed up with the Linde Group (Linde), BASF, Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (AEI), Affiliated Construction Services (ACS), and Washington University, St. Louis to demonstrate the large pilot scale testing of an advanced solvent-based CO2 capture process. The goal of the project was to capture ~300 TPD CO2 at 90% capture rate from existing coal fired boilers at the Abbott Power Plant on the UIUC campus. They proposed to use the Linde-BASF novel amine-based advanced CO2 capture technology, which had already exhibited the potential to be cost-effective, energy efficient and compact at the 0.5-1.5 MWe pilot scales. This technology offers significant benefits compared to other solvent-based processes as it aims to reduce the regeneration energy requirements using novel solvents that are stable under the coal-fired power plant feed gas conditions.

The overall objective of this project was to design and install a scaled-up system of nominal 15 MWe size, integrate it with the Abbott Power Plant flue gas and utility systems, and demonstrate the viability of continuous operation under realistic conditions with high efficiency and capacity. The Abbott Power Plant project was funded for Phase I only: pre-FEED study from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016 (DE-FE0026588).

New Award for Additional Site

The team received funding from DOE in 2018 for a project that sought to establish the same carbon capture system at an additional coal-fired power plant (DE-FE0031581). In Phase I, the team conducted a feasibility and site selection study for a 10 MWe capture system using Linde-BASF technology. In 2019, DOE awarded the group funding for the next phase of the project. Phase II completed the engineering designs for this capture system. With successful completion of Phases I and II, the team has submitted a proposal for Phase III to start construction and operation of the proposed carbon capture system.

This new project leveraged lessons learned from the previously project (DE-FE0026588) to design and install a 15 MWe capture facility at Abbott Power Plant. By using existing research and previous lessons learned as a foundation, the researchers greatly reduced the risks and costs in this new project.

Phase I Results Summary

Phase I consisted of a feasibility study of a 10 MWe carbon capture facility with three potential sites. The team selected the City Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) power plant in Springfield, IL as the best site because it had more existing features needed for the addition of the Linde-BASF carbon capture system. An environmental impact study concluded that the addition of the carbon capture system would not create additional environmental concern outside of what is already permitted at the CWLP site. The team consisted of members from academic and private sector organizations including multiple departments from UIUC, Linde Gas North America, LLC (Linde), BASF, Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (AEI), and Affiliated Construction Services (ACS).

Phase II Results Summary

Phase II included the same team members as in Phase I with the addition of ICF, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) contractor. In this phase, the team completed a successful FEED validation study, which included ISBL and OSBL design and equipment specifications with bid-ready documentation. ISBL stands for “inside battery limits” and encompasses the procurement, installation, and construction of all process equipment. OSBL stands for “outside battery limits” and refers to any supplemental components that support ISBL such as utilities and infrastructure needs.

Phase II analysis of construction and operation showed a large regional economic impact with no significant environmental concerns. An in-depth environmental study following NEPA guidelines resulted in a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) determination. Based on a regional economic development study, the construction and operation of this 10 MWe carbon capture facility has a projected regional economic impact of $47.1 million with a tax revenue of $5.6 million. The total impact is $52.7 million.

Phase III Summary

The major objectives in Phase III include finalizing a detailed engineering plan, acquiring equipment and modules needed for the new system, and building and operating the 10 MWe Linde-BASF carbon capture unit at CWLP. The proposal was awarded by DOE in May 2021 with the same team members as Phases I and II. The anticipated project start date is June 1, 2021, with a total of $67.2 million awarded. Read more about Phase III in the DOE press release.