Project No: FE0012062
Performer: Aerojet Rocketdyne


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

Dave Lyons
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880, MS PO3B
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
(304) 285-4379

Alan Darby

Principal Investigator
Aerojet Rocketdyne
6633 Canoga Avenue
Canoga Park, CA 91309-7922
(818) 586-0975

Award Date:  10/01/2013
Project Date:  09/30/2016

DOE Share: $5,428,067.00
Performer Share: $2,326,315.00
Total Award Value: $7,754,382.00

Performer website: Aerojet Rocketdyne -

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Dry Solids Pump Coal Feed Technology Program

Project Description

The objective of this project is to develop fuel feed technology for high-pressure gasifiers that will result in significantly lower-cost coal gasification plant construction and/or operation for power production with carbon capture. Aerojet Rocketdyne will conduct dry solids pump (DSP) feed system test operations at 400 tons per day (up to 600 tons per day [tpd]), collect and analyze the resultant data, and develop and update the models needed to prepare a conceptual design of a 1000 tpd DSP operation. This project will provide researchers with the test data, analytical models, and operational experience needed to confidently design a 1000 tpd high-pressure DSP system.

Pump Installation

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 water-gas-shift 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 EOR. 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.

Feed systems research is underway to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency, through design and advanced plant integration, of fuel and oxygen feed to commercial gasifiers. High-pressure solid feed systems will expand the use of our nation's Western low-cost, low-rank coals for high-pressure gasifiers (currently limited to more expensive fuel), enable co-feeding of coal with other advantageous fuels (such as biomass), and encourage higher pressure (and therefore more efficient) operation of dry feed gasifiers. ITM technology will lower the cost of oxygen production through reduced capital costs, and result in more efficient IGCC power plants through turbine integration, as compared to today's commercially available, energy intensive technology for oxygen production—cryogenic air separation

This Aerojet Rocketdyne project is developing a high-pressure dry feed pump for gasification processes to enable feeding of low-rank coal by constructing, operating, and testing a pre-commercial-scale prototype (400 tons per day at a pressure gradient of 1,000 psi). Novel dry feed technologies have the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of gasification in two ways; enabling slurry-fed gasifiers to run effectively on low rank coal, and enabling dry-fed gasifiers to run at high pressure. This would increase the efficiency of the gasifier and reduce plant capital, maintenance, and operating costs, resulting in less than half the life-cycle cost (capital and operating combined) of the state-of-the-art dry solids lock hopper feed system, and is also expected to perform with at least twice the mechanical efficiency of conventional feed systems.

This project is a continuation of an ongoing effort that has been performed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne under "Development of High-Pressure Dry Feed Pump for Gasification Systems" (Contract No.: DE-FC26-04NT42237.) A Fact Sheet for the original project provides more detailed discussion of the work to develop dry solids feed pump technology.

Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

Aerojet Rocketdyne will prepare the DSP and test facility for testing at a pump capacity of 400 tpd (up to 600 tpd) and discharge pressure of 1200 psi. Project personnel will conduct scraper upgrade optimization and demonstration testing using Illinois #6 coal and design, fabricate, and test component hardware in small-scale component test rigs and/or the DSP. Selected coal will be tested in the DSP and the data analyzed and analytical tools and models updated to support a techno-economic analysis (TEA). A conceptual design of a 1000 tpd high pressure DSP system will be created based on operations performed using the 400 tpd (up to 600 tpd) DSP, analysis of associated test data, and the updated models. The TEA will be used to quantify the benefits of DSP technology by comparing a DSP-integrated plant configuration to a reference case baseline exhibiting conventional technology (i.e., lock hopper feed system). The TEA focus is on integrated gasification and combined cycle power generation with ninety-percent carbon capture.

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"


In February 2014, the project team completed prototype DSP diagnostic testing. The prototype DSP is now being setup to test at higher pressures between the March to July 2014 timeframe. The Principal Investigator reports that the biggest change is improved operation of the pump, and some minor changes to the scraper so that operations can reach towards 300 psi operating pressures.