CCS and Power Systems

Crosscutting Research - Plant Optimization Technologies

DOE-WRI Cooperative Research and Development Program for Fossil Energy-Related Resources

Performer: University of Wyoming Research Corporation

Project No: FC26-08NT43293


  • Development and Testing of Compact Heat Exchange Reactors for Synthesis of Liquid Fuels: Using commercially available methanol synthesis catalyst, CHER performance shows a five-fold increase in product yield versus a conventional fixed-bed reactor. The pilot-scale reactors fabricated by Chart Energy and Chemical Inc. were delivered to WRI and are being installed on a skid. WRI has acquired a gas chromatograph (GC)-mass spectrometer (MS) for detailed product analysis. The GC-MS system comprises an Agilent 7890 GC and Agilent 5975 MSD (mass spectrometric detector) and a flame ionization detector (FID). An SRI Multigas III portable GC was also purchased for tailgas monitoring.

  • A Novel Integrated Oxycombustion Flue Gas Purification Technology: A Near Zero Emissions Pathway: Process simulation studies have been conducted, including computational fluid dynamics(CFD), that show a 3–5 percent increase in boiler efficiency for WRI’s patent-pending oxy-combustion of low-rank fuels design with integration of WRI’s WRITECoaI process, advanced burner design, and CO2 cleanup for geologic storage. Economic evaluation activities using the WRITECoal process for Powder River Basin (PRB) oxy-fired and air-fired amine cases are continuing.

  • Mercury Emission Calibration Standards: Laboratory experiments were performed to explore the apparent output difference between elemental vapor pressure-based calibrators and an evaporative mercuric chloride calibrator. The results of the experiments suggest that with adequate equilibration times before sample collection, there does not appear to be a significant difference between the evaporative mercuric chloride and the elemental calibrators.

  • Novel Sorbents for Emission Control from Coal Combustion: Evaluation of the mercury capture performance of Nalco’s non-carbon (inorganic) sorbent, TX15047, was conducted in the coal Combustion Test Facility (CTF) at WRI. Sorbent performance was determined across the baghouse while firing subbituminous PRB coal.

  • Hydrogen Separation: A Hydrogen Research Facility building was constructed on the WRI site. The building is located near WRI’s coal gasifier and the liquid fuels plant for future access to syngas. Design of the thermal cycle adsorption device is complete.

  • Novel Fixed-bed Gasifier for Wyoming Coals: Emery Energy Company has achieved nearly 1,500 hours of total operational time on the gasifier during the reporting period primarily using PRB Coal. Additionally, over 150 hours were logged using coal/biomass mixtures and over 300 hours using biomass. A tar reforming set-up provided by Cerametec was operational during the biomass and coal/biomass mixture testing. Coal feed rates of up to 7 tons/day have been demonstrated, limited primarily by steam production capacity and flare stack management issues.

  • Novel Fixed-bed Gasifier for Wyoming Coal Comparative Performance of Mo2C-based Mixed Alcohol Synthesis Catalyst: The Cerametec F-T reactor was received and installed. In preparation for testing, (1) vessels for knockout and collection of the F-T liquids have been designed, and the materials are being constructed by a local fabricator; (2) a cold-collection system has been fabricated and tested and is ready to operate; and (3) all equipment for the compression and storage of coal-based syngas has been tested and qualified.

  • WRI’s Chemoautotrophic (CAT) Biological Carbon Capture and Re-use Process: CAT and sulfur reducing bacteria (SRB) growth rates and single factor optimization tests were conducted and the results analyzed. Procambarus. versutus is the preferred CAT bacteria based solely on the growth rate and volumetric productivity. However, P. Versutus has optimal growth with lower concentrations of CO2. Paracoccus. pantotrophus grew with a faster doubling time and increased maximum biomass accumulation when more bicarbonate was added to the cultures, indicating that P. pantotrophus may be a better strain for handling high CO2 loads in the CAT scale-up reactors. Both SRB and CAT bacteria were grown in chemically defined media to best simulate the expected scale-up conditions. Biomass was collected, lipids were extracted by organic extraction, and fatty acids were trans-esterified with methanol to generate fatty acid methyl esters. The data were then used to calculate the amount of fatty acids suitable for use in biodiesel.

  • Integrated Freezer System: An optimal configuration has been developed to maintain frozen materials at freezer temperatures for 60 hours or longer for shipping. The temperatures maintained by the new integrated freezer system design meet the criteria for frozen sample preservation over a considerable length of time.

  • Conversion of Low-rank Wyoming Coals into Gasoline by Direct Coal Liquefaction: Several experiments were performed in a Parr autoclave reactor to evaluate the exact conversion of coal or lignin under high temperature water reaction. In contrast to earlier tests, the use of this reactor made gas capture and analysis possible. Also, the conversion of coal or lignin to liquid or gaseous products could be accurately determined from the weight of the residue. The results indicate that lignite coal or lignin is indeed converted to liquid or gaseous products; however, the selectivity to liquid products is very poor.

Project Details