Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Mark Walker
Future electricity grids will rely on large scale two-way storage of chemical energy for balancing intermittent renewables with variation in demand. A novel technology for this purpose is the use of excess electrical energy to produce hydrogen which can be biologically converted to methane, via hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, and then easily stored in existing natural gas infrastructure. The proposed work will create a process model to describe the process in order to ascertain the basic operating principles and to perform in silico testing of potential control systems. Validation of the developed models will be performed using existing experimental facilities and the project will benefit from existing academics and industrial collaborations in this area. Several potential applications of the hybrid technology are envisaged which will be investigated using the integrated process model, drawing from existing expertise in this area within Energy 2050.
Supervisor: Dr W Nimmo
To achieve the UK’s ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 without compromising energy security, the UK’s conventional power plants must be operated in a flexible manner in terms of high efficiency, using alternative fuels (e.g. biomass) and integrating technologies for carbon abatement (e.g. Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS). Ultra-supercritical (USC) steam Rankine cycle power generation combined with Circulating Fluidised Bed (CFB) and Fluidized Bed (FB) combustion technology is the most viable alternative to the pulverised coal (PC)-based USC power generation. In addition, operating under USC/FB/CFB conditions has a number of advantages over USC/PC, particularly regarding fuel flexibility. However, there are still many fundamental research and technical challenges facing the development of this technology. In particular, combustion issues related to safe and stable operation of CFB/FB boilers when burning a variety of solid fuels are not yet fully understood and there is a great need to develop novel materials that will be able to cope with adverse conditions associated with operation.
The specific project areas would include:
To understand how the combustion of a variety of fuels affects Emissions, bed material agglomeration, fouling and corrosion of boiler heat exchanger tubes.
Facilities at the University main campus and at the LCCC will be offered to suitably qualified students for study leading to a PhD in combinations of the following areas.
1. Combustion testing at pilot scale (250 kW Fluidised bed)
2. Deposition testing and experimentation at pilot plant scale
3. Corrosion testing in lab scale furnaces
4. Fundamental TGA decomposition studies
5. Biomass characterisation
Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes
Stringent CO2 emission reduction targets that are now in effect mean that the carbon intensity of energy generation from all sources needs to be considerably reduced in order to meet such goals. The use of biomass fuels – either dedicated biomass firing or co-firing with fossil fuels, such as coal – can considerably minimise the net CO2 emissions to atmosphere from conventional energy generation processes, i.e. combustion. Coupling biomass utilisation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies could mean the CO2 emissions from such forms of energy production are further reduced and even have the potential to lead to zero or negative emissions. This project will aim to compare different fuel resources (coal, wood chips and co-firing these two fuels) in terms of their carbon intensity and techno-economics, when used with and without CCS applications. A large-scale power facility will be modelled using the IECM and Aspen packages to achieve the project objectives, with input data and other parameters being acquired from the literature review conducted.
Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr W Nimmo
Fossil fuel will remain a significant contributor to power generation around the world as countries develop and realise their economic and social potentials through industrial growth and increase in people’s standard of living. For example, coal remains a principal fuel for electricity generation (~40% of the world market) and contributes ~43% of CO2 emissions from the combustion of all fossil fuels. Therefore, in order to meet CO2 reduction targets, the urgency of developing, demonstrating, and deploying Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies is clear, supported by the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
Oxyfuel combustion is one of the front running technologies for CO2 capture in power generation and energy intensive industries, as recognised by the UK government’s recent announcement to fund the FEED study for the White Rose Partnership project as part of the £1bn DECC competition for CCS commercialisation. Displacement of coal by biomass with CCS is a method of gaining benefits from negative CO2 emissions.
The project will involve detailed experimental work performed on the 250kW combustion test facility associated with funded projects in the area of oxyfuel combustion. Coal and biomass fuels will be used and flame analysis methods will be employed; heat flux, temperature, chemical species and emissions. The effect of flue gas recycle conditions on flame characteristics and emissions will also be investigated.
Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham
Biomass as a renewable fuel is considered to be CO2 neutral. However, firing biomass in power generation plant, either as a sole fuel or for co-firing in both air and oxy-firing conditions, causes a number of complications, such as slagging, fouling, and increased depositions and corrosion on the superheat-exchange tubes. This would reduce both system efficiency and durability. An advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics model will be developed in order to simulate the formation of aerosol, and the process of deposition of fine particles on combustion chamber and heat exchange tube surfaces, that occur during biomass combustion. The model development will be based on an existing model that has previously been developed at Leeds and will be validated against measurement data. The successful outcome of this research will be very useful for biomass fuel selection and combustion system optimization for power generation plant co-firing biomass and coal.