Project No: FE0013363
Performer: Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.


Contacts

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
jenny.tennant@netl.doe.gov

K. David Lyons
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880, MS PO3B
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
(304) 285-4379
k.lyons@netl.doe.gov

Amy Fabrice
Principal Investigator
Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
7201 Hamilton Blvd.
Allentown, PA 18195-9642
(610) 481-1005 
amyf@airproducts.com

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

Cost
DOE Share: $851,757.00
Performer Share: $212,939.00
Total Award Value: $1,064,696.00

Performer website: Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. - http://www.airproducts.com/

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Advanced Acid Gas Separation Technology for Clean Power and Syngas Applications

Project Description

In this project, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (ACPI) will test a two-bed pressure swing adsorption (PSA) unit on a slipstream of authentic, high-hydrogen syngas based on low-rank coal at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC); also a multi-bed process development unit (PDU) will be operated, refining the reliability of predictions of PSA performance at commercial scale. The information obtained from the two-bed PSA unit and the PDU will be combined to build a techno-economic assessment (TEA) of Sour PSA utilization for methanol production with 90% carbon capture, as well as to update techno-economic assessments of the technology for integrated gasification and combined cycle (IGCC). The TEA shall incorporate NETL's Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants and the guidelines delineated in the funding opportunity announcement. The overarching objectives of the FOA that this project was selected from are to reduce the cost of coal conversion via gasification through (1) reducing plant capital costs; (2) reducing fuel and operations costs; and (3) increasing overall plant efficiency.


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.

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.

Air Products has developed a proprietary alternative to conventional syngas cleanup, combining a Sour Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) step that separates CO2 and H2S from the desired products, and a tailgas disposition block which separates the sulfur-containing compounds and purifies the CO2 to a sequestration-grade product. Specifically, Air Products will test a two-bed PSA unit on a slipstream of authentic, high-hydrogen syngas based on low-rank coal at the National Carbon Capture Center; also a multi-bed process development unit (PDU) will be operated, refining the reliability of predictions of PSA performance at commercial scale. The information obtained from the two-bed PSA unit and the PDU will be combined to build a techno-economic assessment of PSA utilization for methanol production, as well as to update techno-economic assessments of the technology for IGCC.


Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

This project will be conducted in one phase by a team consisting of staff from Air Products and the NCCC. ACPI's existing Sour PSA test unit will be upgraded and inserted into a weatherproof container along with a guard bed unit and feed gas compression system. The unit will be installed at NCCC's gasification site and operated for a period of approximately six weeks. The fate of trace components in the Sour PSA system will be evaluated, whether in the various effluent gas streams or on the adsorbents (analyzed via post-mortem studies). Guard bed (a fixed bed of pellets that selectively absorb materials of interest) effectiveness at removing potential tar species will be ensured by monitoring benzene breakthrough. Important metrics of performance (CO2 and H2S rejection, CO and H2 recovery), will be monitored to assess PSA operational stability. The data collected will also be compared with predictions from an ACPI in-house simulator (SIMPAC) to validate the simulation tool. ACPI will also investigate the use of pressure equalization cycles in a four- to six-bed PSA system utilizing sulfur-free, synthetic syngas with high CO and H2 content. This will also provide further validation of the simulation tool. The above work will provide information necessary to design a Sour PSA-based gasification process to produce purified syngas for methanol synthesis.

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".