Fossil Energy Research Corp

Columbia, MD, United States

Fossil Energy Research Corp

Columbia, MD, United States
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News Article | April 17, 2017

This story has been updated. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday visited an Obama-funded “clean coal” facility in Texas — and used its existence to advance a thoroughly Trumpian message about the importance of domestic fossil fuels. “We are investing in cleaner power, and using the carbon captured to increase energy production,” Perry said at a valve-turing ceremony at the Petra Nova plant in Thompsons, Texas, according to prepared remarks. Petra Nova, declared operational in January, is the first U.S. coal fired electricity unit equipped to capture carbon dioxide, the principal gas that drives the planet’s warming, and then store it underground. But while the message of the valve-turning ceremony sounded simple, it was anything but. Perry called the carbon capture technology clean, but the only novel way in which it is clean is in capturing and story carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas contributing global warming – a subject on which Trump policy remains ambiguous or even dubious. Moreover, the Petra Nova plant will unleash the captured carbon dioxide into a nearby oil field where it, in “supercritical” or liquid-like form, will be used to push additional oil out of the ground before being stored there. This “enhanced oil recovery” — and the money received from selling the oil — is the only thing that makes the economics of carbon capture and storage workable at present. But also brings even more fossil fuels out of the ground and into the world – something some environmental activists have criticized. “It is a tremendous example of how investments in clean technology can also lead to increased development of conventional sources,” Perry said at the Texas event. Yet as long as there is no price on carbon, capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide has a limited future. Not every coal power plant sits near an old oil field. Even as the Trump administration has seized on this one instance of “clean” coal, it remains unclear to what extent it even believes climate change — which burying carbon is meant to help avert. And at the same time, the Trump EPA has been moving to loosen regulations on coal plants and mines’ conventional pollutants and to stop the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which sought to limit carbon dioxide emissions, ensuring that existing coal plants will contribute more to warming. The remarks signaled a new effort by the Trump administration to seize upon an emerging technology – funded heavily by Obama’s first term stimulus act and only now beginning to become a reality in the U.S. – and nestle it squarely within Trump’s broader message about ramping up domestic energy production. The Petra Nova project, a joint venture of NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp, is a 240 megawatt coal unit of the larger W.A. Parish plant in Thompsons, Texas. It can capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted when the coal burns, according to the companies. The development of more such projects is very much desired by the coal industry – which Trump has courted assiduously – not just domestically but globally. “Petra Nova continues the pathway of demonstrating CCS at scale and bringing costs down,” said Benjamin Sporton, the CEO of the World Coal Association, in a statement regarding Perry’s visit. “As he begins to set his priorities at the Department of Energy, we encourage Secretary Perry to support CCS research and development as CCS development and deployment is critical to meeting the 2 degrees climate target.” But Perry’s remarks about investments notwithstanding, it remains unclear how the new administration plans to further advance a new technology that — despite its potential to reduce emissions from burning coal – remains costly and has struggled to gain a foothold. During the presidential campaign president Trump spoke often about “clean coal,” and the energy policy posted on the White House website on its very first day of the new administration stated that the administration was “committed to clean coal technology.” Since then, however, White House budget proposals have appeared to seek cuts to the Department of Energy’s research programs designed to advance the technology. The Trump “skinny budget” for the 2018 federal fiscal year aims an unspecified cut at the Fossil Energy Research and Development Program, which, among other things, funds carbon capture and storage research. And a budget memo sent to Congress by the White House Office of Management and Budget targets deep cuts to the same program for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year. Carbon capture and storage research isn’t the only type of science funded through this program, but it makes up a very significant part of it. A press release from Perry’s Energy Department notes that while the Petra Nova project did receive federal funding — $ 190 million, including some funding received under President Obama’s first term economic stimulus package — it was initially envisioned as a smaller project. “Originally conceived as a 60-megawatt electric (MWe) capture project, the project sponsors expanded the design to capture emissions from 240 MWe of generation at the Houston-area power plant, quadrupling the size of the capture project without additional federal investment,” said the announcement. Obama stimulus funding also supported another carbon capture initiative that has, only now in the Trump years, come online — a project at agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland’s Decatur, Illinois ethanol plant, which strips carbon dioxide out of the fermentation process that makes ethanol. Both the Petra Nova and Decatur projects are expected to sequester more than a million tons of carbon dioxide in the ground annually, which means that in the context of capturing and storing carbon they would count as large-scale industrial projects. However, these amounts still pale in comparison to the amount of carbon dioxide that humans put in the atmosphere annually from energy use — about 32 billion tons — underscoring that carbon capture and storage has a very long way to go before it makes a major dent in the climate change problem. Perry is just back from a G-7 energy ministers meeting where the U.S.’s unresolved position on climate change and the Paris climate agreement reportedly prevented the adoption of a joint statement on the matter by the group of nations. In a statement on the ministerial, however, Perry hailed fossil energy technologies, remarking that the U.S. and fellow countries should support “high efficiency, low-emission coal and natural gas.” “Innovation is also a top priority for the Trump Administration,” he said.

News Article | May 18, 2017

The Trump administration is expected to propose massive cuts to federal government research on wind and solar energy next week, according to current and former Energy Department officials familiar with budget discussions. The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which funds research on advanced vehicles as well as other aspects of clean energy, would face a roughly 70 percent cut in 2018, carving about $ 1.45 billion from its $2.09 billion 2017 budget. These planned deep cuts were first reported by Axios, which obtained an Energy Department budget document. Two officials reached by The Washington Post, one currently with the department and one a former employee knowledgeable about budget discussions, cited numbers very similar or, in some cases, identical to those in that report. It was unclear whether these were the final budget figures, which are expected to be released next week. Shaylyn Hynes, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, declined to comment on the budget numbers, because they have not yet been made public. But she said Energy Secretary Rick Perry “will lead the Department of Energy in the same way he led Texas, focusing on carrying out our core agency functions efficiently and effectively while also being fiscally responsible and respecting the American taxpayer. The Department looks forward to working with Congress as the budget process continues.” The proposed cuts, if enacted, would reverberate dramatically at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., which has a $ 292 million federal budget and 2,200 employees. This research center — the incubator for the solar cell technology used by the U.S. firm First Solar — is highly dependent on research funding from EERE. The consequences of the proposed cuts could be wide ranging, potentially undermining the office’s SunShot Initiative, which has worked to drive down the costs of large-scale solar energy, which now runs about 7 cents per kilowatt hour. A goal of reaching 3 cents per kilowatt hour for large-scale solar electricity had been set for 2030. The cuts are far from becoming a reality. In recent budget negotiations, Congress funded Energy Department programs roughly on par with 2016 levels, rather than follow a Trump administration proposal to slash them deeply in the current fiscal year. Still, Josh Freed, vice president for the Clean Energy Program at Third Way, a public-policy think tank in Washington, said the proposals were “extremely troubling.” “The proposal from the White House, particularly on the clean-energy innovation side, is waving a white flag,” he said. “And it sets a tone for negotiations with Congress of having to restore funds at the very time we need to be increasing the budgets for energy innovation to drive growth.” The numbers are broadly consistent with those in the Trump administration’s “skinny budget,” released in March, which proposed a combined total of “approximately” $2 billion in cuts from EERE, the Fossil Energy Research and Development program, and two other offices. The total budget for the four programs was about $ 4 billion, so this would have meant cutting them collectively in half. According to Axios, the Fossil Energy Research and Development program, which conducts research on carbon capture and storage, would face a 55 percent cut and be funded at $280 million in 2018, far lower than the 2017 funding level of $618 million. That’s even though carbon capture and storage, which often goes by the name “clean coal,” has been a major Trump administration priority. One Energy Department official also confirmed this cut to The Post. Cuts to research funding for “clean coal” would appear to undermine a key administration priority — and fly in the face of what the coal industry wants. Perry recently attended a ribbon-cutting for the United States’ first functioning clean-coal plant in Texas. “The Obama administration made the biggest investment in clean-coal technology in history,”  Ali Zaidi, a former Obama administration Office of Management and Budget official who is now at Stanford University, said in an email. “In contrast: This budget throws tacks in the road for coal; it’ll pump the brakes on much-needed carbon-capture technology research. Why?”

News Article | May 23, 2017

New budget documents released by the Trump administration Tuesday confirmed fears of an extremely deep cut aimed at the government’s leading clean energy research office, triggering criticism from the former secretary of energy under President Barack Obama, Ernest Moniz. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see just $636 million in new funding in 2018 under the proposal, compared with a budget allocation of $ 2.069 billion in 2017, a decline of more than 69 percent, according to the documents. It would also cut staffing expenditures from 634 full-time employee equivalents down to an estimated 458, an almost 28 percent reduction. “The United States played an indispensable role in creating the Mission Innovation initiative, where 22 nations and the EU have agreed to double governmental investments in clean energy R&D over a five-year period,” Moniz said in a statement posted on Twitter. “This administration budget proposal would put us behind China and Europe, blunting our competitive edge in a multi-trillion dollar developing clean energy global market.” His was just one of many statements by clean energy advocates, denouncing the cuts. The Energy Department released a statement from Secretary Rick Perry saying that the budget “delivers on the promise to reprioritize spending in order to carry out DOE’s core functions efficiently and effectively while also being fiscally responsible and respectful to the American taxpayer.” When it comes to the renewable energy office, the Department explained that the changes marked a “shift away from later-stage development and deployment activities and the increased focus on early-stage R&D” — a realignment that some energy policy scholars have criticized, arguing that in the energy sphere, it’s also critical to invest in later stage projects in order to aid their commercial realization. Funding to solar energy programs would decline to $69.7 million from $241 million just a year earlier, or over 71 percent, under the proposal. Wind energy research would decline to $31.7 million from $95.27 million, a 67 percent cut. It is far from clear that these deep cuts would actually be approved by Congress — in a recent 2017 budget resolution, it kept spending more or less flat for these programs rather than agreeing to cuts proposed by the administration. The administration is also proposing almost no funding to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, a research program designed to pursue energy breakthroughs — appropriating just $20 million instead of the $290 million that Congress provided in 2017. That’s a 93 percent reduction. Perhaps most surprising of all, the budget outlines harsh cuts to research on so-called “clean coal,” even though this is a professed Trump administration priority. It would reduce the budget of the Energy Department’s Fossil Energy Research and Development Program down to $280 million from $631 million in 2017, a 56 percent cut. Within that, funding for research on carbon capture and carbon storage, which could allow for the burning of coal without such a heavy burden of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, would shrink to just $31 million from $206.6 million in the prior year, or a dramatic cut of 85 percent. Another administration priority, nuclear energy, would also see research cuts, though not as sharp. Funding would decline to $703 million from $984 million a year earlier, or more than 28 percent.

Muzio L.,Fossil Energy Research Corp | Bogseth S.,Fossil Energy Research Corp | Himes R.,EPRI | Chien Y.-C.,University of California at Irvine | Dunn-Rankin D.,University of California at Irvine
Fuel | Year: 2017

Primary NOx control methods used on coal fired utility boilers utilize ammonia- and urea-based processes. These processes result in some ammonia exiting the treatment zone, which can react with SO3/H2SO4 in the coal fired flue gas to form ammonium bisulfate (ABS). This ABS formation can lead to potential balance of plant operational issues: • deposition on the SCR NOx control ammonia injection components in cases of insufficiently heated dilution air for ammonia transport• deposition on catalyst surfaces during low load operation, reducing catalyst activity• deposition in the cold end baskets of the air preheater Mitigating these impacts requires an accurate understanding of the ABS formation temperature as a function of flue gas composition. Five past studies of ABS formation temperature exhibit a very large variation. This paper provides a critical review of these studies, along with new experimental data, in order to show that ABS formation is best described by recent laboratory work, with the ABS formation temperature effectively described by the equation: PNH3(atm)∗PSO3(atm)=2.97∗1013∗e(-54,950/RT)where R is the universal gas constant (1.987 cal/K-mol) and T is the flue gas temperature in degrees Kelvin (K). With the increase in renewable fuel sources and the increasing use of natural gas for electricity generation, coal fired boilers are called upon to operate over a broader load range. Using the above expression, this work shows that the generally accepted value for ABS formation temperature is nominally 5% (14 K or 25°F) too high. While this difference may seem small, from a practical perspective it can represent substantial operating cost savings, as a large coal fired plant can operate at a lower minimum load than is currently required by the catalyst vendor‘s prescribed SCR minimum operating temperature based on ABS formation temperature from prior work. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Pisano J.T.,University of California at Riverside | Muzio L.J.,Fossil Energy Research Corp | Durbin T.D.,University of California at Riverside | Karavalakis G.,University of California at Riverside | And 2 more authors.
Combustion Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Selective noncatalytic reduction (SNCR) is a postcombustion technique for reducing NO x emissions from power generation facilities. The optimization of the SNCR system involves maximizing NO x reduction while minimizing NH 3 slip. This requires optimization of both the SNCR system as well as the combustion, as their performances are interrelated. This work discusses the results of an optimization study of SNCR systems on a wood-fired boiler. This included measurements of NH 3, which was measured with a tunable diode laser, as well as temperature, O 2, CO, and NO x. The results clearly showed the interrelationship between the SNCR process and combustion. Marked improvement in SNCR performance was possible on this boiler due in part to the availability of instrumentation that allowed the operators to optimize combustion and maintain these conditions once they were defined. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Brewer E.,University of California at Riverside | Li Y.,University of California at Riverside | Finken B.,Air Quality Services Inc. | Quartucy G.,Fossil Energy Research Corp | And 4 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2016

The generation of electricity from natural gas-fired turbines has increased more than 200% since 2003. In 2007 the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) funded a project to identify control strategies and technologies for PM2.5 and ultrafine emissions from natural gas-fired turbine power plants and test at pilot scale advanced PM2.5 technologies to reduce emissions from these gas turbine-based power plants. This prompted a study of the exhaust from new facilities to better understand air pollution in California. To characterize the emissions from new natural gas turbines, a series of tests were performed on a GE LMS100 gas turbine located at the Walnut Creek Energy Park in August 2013. These tests included particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) and wet chemical tests for SO2/SO3 and NH3, as well as ultrafine (less than 100 nm in diameter) particulate matter measurements. After turbine exhaust was diluted sevenfold with filtered air, particle concentrations in the 10-300 nm size range were approximately two orders of magnitude higher than those in the ambient air and those in the 2-3 nm size range were up to four orders of magnitude higher. This study also found that ammonia emissions were higher than expected, but in compliance with permit conditions. This was possibly due to an ammonia imbalance entering the catalyst, some flue gas bypassing the catalyst, or not enough catalyst volume. SO3 accounted for an average of 23% of the total sulfur oxides emissions measured. While some of the SO3 is formed in the combustion process, it is likely that the majority formed as the SO2 in the combustion products passed across the oxidizing CO catalyst and SCR catalyst.The 100 MW turbine sampled in this study emitted particle loadings of 3.63E-04 lb/MMBtu based on Methods 5.1/201A and 1.07E-04 lb/MMBtu based on SMPS method, which are similar to those previously measured from turbines in the SCAQMD area (FERCo et al., 2014), however, the turbine exhaust contained orders of magnitude higher particles than ambient air. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Menasha J.,University of California at Irvine | Dunn-Rankin D.,University of California at Irvine | Muzio L.,Fossil Energy Research Corp | Stallings J.,EPRI
Fuel | Year: 2011

Ammonium bisulfate (ABS) forms in coal-fired power plant exhaust systems when ammonia slip from the NO x control system reacts with the sulfur oxides and water in the flue gas. The critical temperature range for ABS formation occurs in the air preheater, where ABS is known to cause corrosion and pluggage that can require unplanned outages and expensive cleaning. To develop mitigation strategies for the deleterious effects of ABS in air preheaters, it is important to know its formation temperature and deposition process. This paper describes a bench-scale experimental simulation of a single-channel air preheater, with the appropriate temperature gradient, used in conjunction with simulated coal combustion flue gas, including sulfur oxides, ammonia, and water vapor, to investigate the formation of ABS. Formation was observed optically, and the formation temperature, as well as deposition characteristics for a realistic range of reactant concentrations are presented and compared with previous studies on ABS formation. This study presents data at realistic concentrations not earlier tested, and the reported data has smaller experimental uncertainty than previously obtained. We found that the measured ABS formation temperatures under air preheater channel conditions lies between the temperatures reported by others, and is in the range of 500-520 K for typical flue gas concentrations of ammonia and sulfur oxide species. The results also show that, at least for this experimental configuration, ABS forms predominantly as an aerosol in the gas phase rather than as a condensate on the channel walls. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Smith R.,Fossil Energy Research Corp
Power Engineering (Barrington, Illinois) | Year: 2010

Fossil Energy Research Corporation (FERCo) has developed an in-situ device named KnoxCheck for real-time catalyst deactivation measurements. As the data is collected, it is analyzed by a catalyst management software program, providing information on boiler operating conditions that negatively impact catalyst activity This information can then be used to optimize boiler operation with respect to catalyst deactivation rate and the catalyst replacement schedule. The KnoxCheck uses a self-contained ammonia ked system to control ammonia concentration and extracts upstream and downstream flue gas samples to analyze the inlet and outlet NOx concentration. Catalyst activity is assessed using a metric known as reactor potential (RP), which provides a measure of the overall potential of the SCR reactor to reduce NOx by accounting for both catalyst deactivation and catalyst layer blockage. KnoxCheck provides a direct measurement of reactor potential, accounting for the actual flue gas flow rate and blockage values.

Fossil Energy Research Corp | Date: 2012-10-16

Integrated test system comprising sample probes, gas analyzers, ammonia injection, and software, used to measure the ability of catalyst to remove nitric oxides produced by combustion, without removing the catalyst from the combustion process. Scientific and technological services, namely, testing catalyst that remove nitric oxides produced by combustion without removing the catalyst from the combustion process.

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