Project No: FE0012048
Performer: TDA Research Inc.


Jenny Tennant 
Technology Manager
Gasification Systems
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880, MS B17
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
(304) 285-4830

Darryl Shockley
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880, MS P03A
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
(304) 285-4697

Dr. Gokhan Alptekin
Principal Investigator
TDA Research Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
(303) 940-2349

Award Date:  10/01/2013
Project Date:  09/30/2014

DOE Share: $1,000,000.00
Performer Share: $278,000.00
Total Award Value: $1,278,000.00

Performer website: TDA Research Inc. -

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Advanced Reactor Design for Integrated WGS/Pre-Combustion CO2 Capture

Project Description

The project will demonstrate the technical and economic viability of an integrated water-gas-shift (WGS) catalyst/carbon dioxide (CO2) removal/thermal management system for an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant and a coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant. It will explore the best reactor design option that allows for the integration of a proven high temperature CO2 adsorbent and a commercial WGS catalyst with improved thermal management. It will also use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to assess the potential of using filter tubes for direct evaporative cooling while simultaneously supplying the process with the reactant steam. New reactors will be fabricated to evaluate the performance of the integrated system, first in the bench-scale tests and then in a field demonstration using actual coal-derived synthesis gas.

Program Background and Project Benefits

Gasification is used to convert a solid feedstock, such as coal, petcoke, or biomass, into a gaseous form, referred to as synthesis gas or syngas, which is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide. With gasification-based technologies, pollutants can be captured and disposed of or converted to useful products. Gasification can generate clean power by adding steam to the syngas in a WGS reactor to convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (CO2) and to produce additional hydrogen. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated—the hydrogen is used to make power and the CO2 is sent to storage, converted to useful products or used for enhanced oil recovery. In addition to efficiently producing electric power, a wide range of transportation fuels and chemicals can be produced from the cleaned syngas, thereby providing the flexibility needed to capitalize on the changing economic market. As a result, gasification provides a flexible technology option for using domestically available resources while meeting future environmental emission standards. Polygeneration plants that produce multiple products are uniquely possible with gasification technologies. The Gasification Systems program is developing technologies in three key areas to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas: (1) Feed Systems, (2) Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems, and (3) Syngas Processing Systems.

Syngas processing research and development underway emphasizes technologies that can be efficiently integrated into the plant, optimized with the temperature and pressure requirements of other systems, and meet product delivery specifications. A major cost element in gasification plants is converting raw syngas into a pure and specific gas used to create the plant’s target product suite. High-hydrogen, low-methane, ultraclean syngas is versatile and can be used for power production with CO2 capture, fuels or chemicals production, and for many polygeneration applications. The technologies being developed are focused on high-efficiency processes that operate at moderate to high temperatures and clean syngas of all contaminants to the extremely low levels needed for chemical production—often significantly lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required levels for power plants.

TDA Research, Inc. will develop a new high-hydrogen synthesis gas production technology and demonstrate its techno-economic viability for use in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants and coal-to-chemical plants (production of methanol, a precursor for gasoline production) that process low-rank coals and woody biomass. Specifically, the new system will use a warm gas CO2 scrubber integrated with a water-gas shift catalyst to capture greater than 90% of carbon emissions. With expected net plant efficiency 3-5% higher than plants using Selexol for CO2 capture, the technology would significantly reduce the cost of carbon capture over the current state-of-the art, reduce carbon emissions, and have favorable impact on cost of production of electricity and value-added products from coal-based gasification systems.

In a previous DOE/NETL project, TDA developed a CO2 sorbent and demonstrated its stable operation first in bench-scale tests followed by slipstream demonstrations with real coal-derived synthesis gas. Recently, in a separate DOE/NETL project, in collaboration with Phillips66 and Southern Company, the integration of the CO2 scrubber/WGS catalyst in two slipstream demonstrations at the Wabash River IGCC plant and the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) was successfully demonstrated.

Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

In the first six months, detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of the combined water-gas shift (WGS)/pre-combustion CO2 capture reactor system will be performed to optimize the heat integration to maximize the carbon monoxide (CO) conversion and CO2 capture, as well as to fabricate the advanced reactor designs. Modification of the AspenPlus™ model developed by the University of California Irvine under previous studies conducted for DOE/NETL will be used as the reference IGCC plant and gasification-based liquids production cases using conventional CO2 capture technology. In the second half of the project, bench-scale tests with the advanced reactors using simulated synthesis gas will be used to validate the CFD modeling results. A system analysis will be completed for the IGCC case using optimized gasifier steam-to-oxygen ratio to increase syngas hydrogen (H2)/CO ratio and evaluate the impact on overall IGCC plant efficiency and the gasification based liquids production case when using TDA’s combined WGS/pre-combustion CO2 capture technology with heat integrated reactors. The project will also demonstrate the key aspects of the process using coal-derived synthesis gas from a yet-to-be-determined source. Pall Corporation will collaborate with TDA to optimize the porous stainless-steel modules for steam introduction and provide the tubes for fabrication. Pall will also review the results of the CFD modeling and provide engineering consultation. The expected results of this project are the demonstration of an advanced CO2 capture system that can be efficiently added to IGCC power plants and gasification-based liquids (methanol and/or diesel) production to increase the hydrogen content, and generation of a system analysis showing a net increase in plant efficiency by 3-5 percent when compared to Selexol™-based plants with a cost of electricity increase of less than 10 percent as compared to IGCC without carbon capture and storage.

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 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".