(209d) Redesigning the Regulated Power Plant: Optimizing Energy Allocation to Electricity Generation, Carbon Capture, and Water Treatment Processes at Coal-Fired Power Plants

Gingerich, D., Carnegie Mellon University
Mauter, M., Carnegie Mellon University
Coal fired power plants (CFPPs) are the largest industrial emitters of air toxics, aqueous contaminants, and greenhouse gasses in the US. Compliance with promulgated and potential regulations to address these emissions will require the installation of new carbon and water emissions control technologies. These separation processes require energy, either in the form of heat or electricity, and may significantly reduce the generation efficiency and revenue of CFPPs. A systematic reevaluation of the use of all thermal and electricity sources at CFPPs will aid power plant designers in maximizing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of emissions control retrofits. To assist in this reevaluation, we first build mass- and energy-balance models of the turbines at CFPPs. We then seek to maximizing revenue by varying the allocation of steam among three sinks: the turbine for electricity generation, the solvent regeneration for carbon capture, and the wastewater treatment unit. We demonstrate this approach by evaluating trade-offs for the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s 550 MW pulverized coal combustion power plant model. We find that the revenue maximizing balance of electricity or steam allocation to emissions control processes is a function of the efficiency of conversion, the efficiency of the process, and the value of the emission control (e.g. the price on carbon). As a result, the optimal allocation of energy sources is likely to vary significantly between individual plants.