Analysis of thermally coupled chemical looping combustion-based power plants with carbon capture

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International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, ISSN: 1750-5836, Vol: 35, Page: 56-70

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Iloeje, Chukwunwike; Zhao, Zhenlong; Ghoniem, Ahmed F.
Elsevier BV
Environmental Science; Energy; Engineering; Chemical looping combustion (CLC); Power generation process modeling; Regenerative CLC cycle; Thermally balanced CLC reactor; Thermally coupled rotary reactor; Thermodynamic analysis
article description
A number of CO 2 capture-enabled power generation technologies have been proposed to address the negative environmental impact of CO 2 emission. One important barrier to adopting these technologies is the associated energy penalty. Chemical-looping Combustion (CLC) is an oxy-combustion technology that can significantly lower this penalty. It utilizes an oxygen carrier to transfer oxygen from air/oxidizing stream in an oxidation reactor to the fuel in a reduction reactor. Conventional CLC reactor designs employ two separate reactors, with metal/metal oxide particles circulating pneumatically in-between. One of the key limitations of these designs is the entropy generation due to reactor temperature difference, which lowers the cycle efficiency. Zhao et al. ( Zhao et al., 2014; Zhao and Ghoniem, 2014 ) proposed a new CLC rotary reactor design, which overcomes this limitation. This reactor consists of a single rotating wheel with micro-channels designed to maintain thermal equilibrium between the fuel and air sides. This study uses three thermodynamic models of increasing fidelity to demonstrate that the internal thermal coupling in the rotary CLC reactor creates the potential for improved cycle efficiency. A theoretical availability model and an ideal thermodynamic cycle model are used to define the efficiency limits of CLC systems, illustrate the impact of reactor thermal coupling and discuss relevant criteria. An Aspen Plus ® model of a regenerative CLC cycle is then used to show that this thermal coupling raises the cycle efficiency by up to 2% points. A parametric study shows that efficiency varies inversely with pressure, with a maximum of 51% at 3 bar, 1000 C and 60% at 4 bar, 1400 C. The efficiency increases with CO 2 fraction at high pressure ratios but exhibits a slight inverse dependence at low pressure ratios. The parametric study shows that for low purge steam demand, steam generation improves exhaust heat recovery and increases efficiency when an appropriate steam production strategy is adopted.