Canada/U.S. clean power demo uses biomass

Cindy Macdonald
October 19, 2016
Officials from Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Energy attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the construction and commissioning of an oxy-fired pressurized fluidized bed combustion (oxy-PFBC) pilot test facility at CanmetENERGY-Ottawa on Oct. 18.

The clean heat and power demonstration project produces power from biomass or fossil fuels and has the potential to capture 98 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. According to a statement from the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), the oxy-PFBC process that can generate electricity and heat with zero emissions by economically capturing greenhouse gases created by biomass and fossil fuel combustion.

GTI is leading the initiative in collaboration with CanmetENERGY-Ottawa, Linde, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), GE, and Penn State University with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the Canadian Clean Power Coalition (CCPC), and Alberta Innovates - Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES).

“This project demonstrates the important role clean energy technologies play in our transition to a lower-carbon economy. Canada and the United States share a bold vision for our continent: a vision based on collaboration, and one that secures North America’s place as one of the world’s most dynamic energy regions. We will continue to work together to meet our climate change objectives, increase competitiveness, and support employment opportunities,” said Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, who addressed guests at the ceremony.

Researchers previously completed a feasibility study, and efforts are now focusing on component development and pilot-plant testing. The pressurized combustion in oxygen and recycling of carbon dioxide gas eliminates the presence of nitrogen and other constituents of air, minimizing the generation of pollutants and enabling more economical CO2 capture. In a complementary project, GTI is also designing, fabricating, and testing a supercritical CO2 power cycle heat exchanger for the oxy-PFBC pilot plant to achieve even greater power cycle efficiencies.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the CanmetENERGY laboratory in Ottawa was chosen to host the project because of its exceptional facilities and the scientific expertise of its staff. Of the nearly US$12 million awarded by the DOE to the Gas Technology Institute, CanmetENERGY received close to US$4.6 million for the project's construction and demonstration.

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