TAURON Wytwarzanie conducts advanced works concerning the construction of a pilot installation converting carbon dioxide from industrial installations to syngas. The surplus electricity from renewable sources will be also used for its production.
In the pilot installation, synthetic natural gas (SNG) will be generated as a result of reaction of carbon dioxide supplied from industrial processes (e.g. coal combustion) with hydrogen originating from water electrolysis. For conducting of the electrolysis process the surplus electricity generated by renewable energy sources will be used - mainly during night hours when the energy demand falls. The by-product of the process will be oxygen which may be additionally used in external processes, e.g. oxy combustion or coal gasification.
– It is an innovative, forward looking project. The concept of carbon dioxide conversion to syngas combines three types of energy sources – coal, RES and natural gas, into a single, mutually replenishing system. The aim of the project is not only to foster the abatement of carbon dioxide air emission, which becomes increasingly difficult for generators producing energy from fossil fuel due to the restrictive regulations introduced by the European Union, but, simultaneously, to lead to obtaining a useful product – says Dariusz Lubera, President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia.
For the needs of the project, use of carbon dioxide generated by the pilot installation is foreseen. Research projects focusing on studying CO2 removal from flue gas have been carried out in power plants of TAURON Wytwarzanie for many years.
Several years ago, concepts of technological solutions related to CO2 capturing, transport and storage (CCS) were still meant to solve the problem of carbon dioxide ambient emission, however, due to the lack of social acceptance for compression ignition transport and underground CO2 storage, the application of the full CCS chain is currently difficult. The project on CO2 methanisation implements the proposal of the so-called CCU, i.e. CO2 capturing and – instead of transport and storage – its utilisation, namely, its processing into a useful product.
– The strive for decarbonisation of European Union economies will probably result in the necessity to capture and use economically at least some part of carbon dioxide generated by fossil fuel combustion – says Stanisław Tokarski, Vice-President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia for Strategy and Development. – Therefore, our area of interest comprises research projects aimed at economic use of CO2, particularly those which, in case of commercialisation of the undertaking, will enable to manage its substantial quantities.
The SNG (synthetic natural gas) produced may be pumped into the existing natural gas network in order to use it in peak hours for energy production, e.g. in a gas turbine. Thus, the implementation of this technology will contribute to increasing of the storage capacity of energy in the form of methane, with the simultaneous use of CO2 for economic purposes.
– The project is a research work oriented towards testing of the innovative technology– explains Albert Kępka, President of the Management Board of TAURON Wytwarzanie. – Only a positive outcome of this work - including also in terms of the technical and economic assessment of a possibility to re-scale the complex system to the size viable for commercial application – may be the basis for further development measures aimed at commercialisation of the solution.
The commissioning of the pilot installation is scheduled in the 1st quarter of 2017.
About the installation
The general principle of the proposed installation operation consists in conversion of CO2 originating from industrial facilities (e.g. coal-fired power plants, chemical installations, steelworks or cement plants) to methane in reaction with hydrogen derived from electrolysis supplied by surplus, i.e. cheap electricity from the grid.
Over the recent years – due to the climate policy of the European Union – the share of production of energy from renewable energy sources (including those with uncontrollable production capacity, such as photovoltaic panels and wind energy) has been growing systematically. They demonstrate discontinuity resulting in production fluctuations in hourly or seasonal periods. Accordingly, surpluses of electricity periodically appear in the system. A possibility to set off the fluctuations of the generated and required capacity would be an optimum solution. In accordance with the assumptions of the project, the emerging electricity surpluses will be used for production of hydrogen, to be subsequently used for production of synthetic methane in the methanisation reactor, together with carbon dioxide captured from the boiler flue gas stream.
The CO2-SNG project is aimed at development of an advanced methanisation reactor and a complex installation for methane generation from CO2 and hydrogen, with a high processing efficiency and high operating flexibility, adjusted to storage of periodical energy surpluses in the form of synthetic methane. The CO2-SNG installation at a pilot scale will be designed and constructed within the framework of the project in one of TAURON Wytwarzanie power plants. The main technology for the methanisation reactor will be supplied by French partners of the project – i.e. CEA and ATMOSTAT. The AGH University of Science and Technology is responsible for the selection of the methanisation catalytic converter. West Technology & Trading Polska will prepare the design of methanisation reactor's integration with the auxiliary equipment as well as the documentation for the purchase of this equipment, whereas RAFAKO will make the executive design of reactor's integration with other equipment and supervise the documentation of auxiliary equipment. The Institute of Chemical Coal Processing will prepare the pilot installation for CO2 removal from flue gas to cooperate with the methanisation installation, and conduct research campaigns.
Partners of the project carried out under KIC InnoEnergy include: TAURON Wytwarzanie, French Alternatives Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), ATMOSTAT, AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Institute of Chemical Coal Processing, RAFAKO and West Technology & Trading.