Project No: FE0009702
Performer: Washington University in St. Louis


Richard Dennis
Technology Manager (Acting)
Advanced Combustion Systems
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Arun Bose
Federal Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
626 Cochrans Mill Road
P.O. Box 10940
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940

Richard Axelbaum
Principal Investigator
Washington University in St. Louis
One Brooking Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4862

Award Date:  10/01/2012
Project Date:  09/30/2016

DOE Share: $4,137,184.00
Performer Share: $1,106,614.00
Total Award Value: $5,243,798.00

Performer website: Washington University in St. Louis -

Advanced Energy Systems - Advanced Combustion Systems

Advanced Oxy-Combustion Technology Develop and Scale-Up for New and Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Project Description

This Washington University project will develop and test a staged, pressurized oxy-combustion process and evaluate the economics of the system. The process incorporates fuel-staged combustion mode for power plants designed for carbon management. The approach permits control of temperature and heat flux associated with oxy-combustion. The potential benefits of the process are higher efficiency and lower capital and operating costs. Reduced gas volumes, oxygen and auxiliary power demands, and increased CO2 purity in the flue gas are additional anticipated benefits.

Staged, Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Process Schematic

Staged, Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Process Schematic

Program Background and Project Benefits

This project is developing a staged, pressurized, oxy-combustor system. Fuel-staged combustion uses excess oxygen as a diluent to manage peak combustion temperatures, and combined with high pressure operation, has the potential to reduce capital and operating costs relative conventional systems. Specifically, this project will develop and test a laboratory-scale pressurized oxy-combustor to support design, development, and testing of a small-pilot scale prototype.

Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

The Phase II research team comprises Washington University in St. Louis and EPRI, with assistance from Praxair and Ameren. The primary tasks include design and construction of a laboratory-scale pressurized combustor and experiments to measure heat flux, temperatures, concentrations of gases and ash, and ash deposition rates. The recipient team will analyze the data to better understand the staged, high-pressure oxy-combustion (SPOC) process and validate the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models that were relied upon in Phase I. The team will rerun the simulations based on the results of the analysis to ensure optimal boiler design. Corrosion studies will also be conducted to evaluate the corrosion characteristics of common and advanced boiler tube materials when they are subjected to the environments anticipated in the SPOC process as determined by the experiments. The recipient will improve the process modeling—including in the key area of the direct contact cooler—and update the Phase I techno-economic models to reflect the new information.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment identifies the current state of readiness of the key technologies being developed under the DOE’s Clean Coal Research Program. This project has not yet been assessed.

The TRL assessment process and its results including definition and description of the levels may be found in the "2012 Technology Readiness Assessment-Analysis of Active Research Portfolio".


The project was selected for continuation into Phase II. Washington University in St. Louis has identified the major equipment needed and completed the collection of performance specs, a schematic design of the pressurized radiant boilers (assisted by CFD modeling), the plant site plan, an ASPEN process simulation model, and economic analysis. Experimental efforts were also undertaken to better understand the combustion of coal in nearly pure oxygen. Combustion tests were conducted utilizing oxygen-enriched air (up to 40 percent volume O2). Combustion tests at atmospheric pressure were performed in the 1-MWth test furnace at Washington University. The team will continue to collect the experimental data needed for CFD model validation during the final quarter. A provisional patent encompassing the SPOC process and boiler design was filed.