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Introduction to Energy Parks: Carbon Neutralized Fuels for a Carbon Neutral World. 

Replacing all fossil fuels with equivalent  biosynfuels.

The Replacing All Fossil Fuels Idea - slides

For the Early Carbon Neutralization Era Between 2017 and 2030

Google Earth view of unneeded coal power plant. It is a prime candidate for upgrading to an Energy Park.

Overview

This particular coal power plant has a 160 megaWatt, 18,000 Volt, 3 phase, 60 cycle, 180,000 Kilo-Volt-Ampere (KVA), static excited, hydrogen cooled, generator and is connected to the power grid by 138,000 Volt lines.

Coal power plants typically have a service life of about 70 years. This power plant was built in 1973. For a coal power plant, it is amazingly clean. Since it is receiving the very best of maintenance, it should be still operating at the end of it's typical life in 2043.

This coal power plant is surrounded by numerous depleted oil fields and is located directly over one of the best CO2 disposal strata on Planet Earth with the entire plant site having an MSMN-rated net porosity of 3 to 4 gigatons of CO2 6,500 feet straight down. Secure CO2 sequestration doesn't get easier or cheaper than this.

Even though these depleted oil fields may be very old and even abandoned, they are not forgotten by the State they are in. Modern oil sensing technology can produce highly detailed images of these fields where, IF YOU HAVE THE CO2, you can very efficiently flush some of the remaining unpumpable oil out. This, combined with equipment that can operate on treated, but unrefined, crude oil implies an energy source cheaper than either natural gas or nuclear. And since it can best be obtained using large amounts of CO2 as a miscible flushing agent, a potentially inexpensive environmentally-friendly source of energy exists that we have been overlooking.

While it is anticipated short-run railroad tank cars would shuttle between the plant site and the nearby depleted oil fields, the excess fossil fuel CO2 that would also be produced and captured (5 gets you 9 in other similar depleted oil field endeavors) could be handled via a fossil fuel CO2 disposal well that could be located anywhere on the plant site. This would be the ethical thing to do, rather than flushing out more oil than is needed for making carbon-neutral biosynfuels would just add to Climate Change.

1. A new 500 megaWatt ThorCon underground 'package' molten salt nuclear power plant will be added next to the existing plant to increase the net electricity output of the energy park to about 300 megaWatts. Preliminary estimates indicate about 200 megaWatts would be consumed powering the hydrogen generator, plasma pyrolyzer, and the biosynfuels manufacturing plant.  This would be the energy park's primary income stream.

2.  Small nuclear reactors have substantial 'load following' capability so  Premium "renewable assist electricity" fees would be a second income stream for the energy park.

3. The plant is located in a suburban near-metro area having about a half-million population in a farming part of the state. Along with the AgWaste from the numerous area farms, the metro area should be generating substantial amounts of "Metropolitan Solid Waste" (garbage) and sewage - all three feedstocks are rich carbon-neutral biomass carbon sources that can be turned into the syngas needed to manufacture carbon-neutral biomass synfuel substitutes for liquid (i.e., gasoline, diesel, jet fuel) and natural gas (i.e., heating gas) fossil fuels, the energy park's third income stream.

4. Feeding the plasma gasifier's appetite for biowaste and "garbage truck tipping fees" would be the energy park's fourth income stream.
     20.000

NOTE: ThorCon has multiple reasons for making their molten salt reactors in dual 250 megaWatt(e) packages. This energy park design is intended to up the existing 160 mW(e) to 300 mW(e).  If the market for 300 mW(e) simply does not exist, one might consider getting a single ThorCon 250 mW(e) reactor, staying with the existing 160 mW(e) output and sizing the energy park equipment to run off the remaining 90 mW(e) energy.

 

When the wind blows and the sun is shining, the Energy Park is free to use all it's electricity, thermal, and carbon capture capacity to make
syngas biosynfuels. This is an excellent way for power companies to profit from "Duck Curve" electricity grid loads.

The exhaust of the jet engines contains substantial oxygen (about 12%) - enough to fire an afterburner. Using this air as combustion air for the reboiler, thermochemical hydrogen splitter and the biosynfuels manufacturing facility might both decrease the oxygen content and increase the CO2 content of the flue gas going into the carbon capture facility leading to a smaller carbon capture facility. They would need to be equipped with oxygen sensors controlling exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves to keep their combustion air oxygen at design levels.

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Major Systems

Existing Coal Power Plant Site and Steam Electricity Generating Unit, Water Treatment System, and Steam Condensers

Existing and New Maintenance Shops

Existing and New Offices

Existing and New Roads and Parking Areas

Depleted Oil Fields

2 New 250 megaWatt Crude Oil Combustion Gas Turbine Generators

Plasma Biofeedstock Gasifier, Grinder, Syngas Clean-up Train, Truck Weighing and Tipping Facility, Slag Truck loading Facility  

Site-wide Carbon Capture Network

Oil Burning, Carbon Captured, Thermochemical Water-splitting Hydrogen and Oxygen Generation Plant

Biosynfuels Production Facility

Railroad Oil Tank Car Offloading Facility, Oil Storage Tank(s)

Railroad CO2 Tank Car Loading Facility

CO2 Sequestration Disposal and Monitor Wells

Safe and Hazardous Consumables Storage Facilities

The above list may seem daunting but, in reality, it is very modest when you consider the size and variety of systems and disciplines found within the perimeter of the Security Fence of the typical medium-sized city's airport. It only looks like a lot when you are the one who has to do it.  Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and you won't build this overnight either. The key is to let others build the first few Energy Parks.

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Economic Configurations

1 & 2. Carbon Captured Load-Following Electricity Only

Adding a couple of GE 7F 7 250 megaWatt turbine generators and their 130 megaWatt heat recovery steam generators to power the existing 160 megaWatt steam electricity generator and the carbon capture system's reboiler, and disposing of ALL captured CO2 into an on-site disposal well, a net output of 550 mW might be a decent guesstimate. An average market price of $75 per megaWatt-hour for renewable-following electricity might be in the ballpark, giving, at a 80% capacity factor, $33,000/hr or $792,000 per day maximum.

3. Syngas Biosynfuels Energy Park

4. Biowaste Disposal and Garbage Truck Tipping Fees
  
(Selling the Plasma Gasifier's Slag as Aggregate.)

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The advantages of converting an existing small coal power plant to an Energy Park.

 

ADVANTAGES OVER BUILDING A NEW ENERGY PARK ON A NEW SITE:  COST, TIME, EMISSIONS, and PROFITS 

If you owned a coal burning power plant here are the biggest reasons why you would want to convert to oil combined cycle:

Permits.   Permits.     PERMITS.     PERMITS.    PERMITS!

Would you rather have an existing site that is already permitted or do you want a new site so badly you are willing to fight in court forever against environmentalists in the pay of your competition?

An existing old coal burning power plant has enormous local support for the idea that an Energy Park is far better than shutting the plant down. 

Always get the identities and photographs of protesters and make sure everyone at every discussion meeting knows where THEY live.  Always photograph any protest demonstrations with a wide-angle lens - leaving plenty of space on either side - so everyone can see how few protesters there really are.

1. Already paid for - NO NEW COSTS FOR MOST OF THE EQUIPMENT

2. Already wired to our cities - NO NEW TRANSMISSION LINE RIGHT-OF-WAYS NEEDED

3. Already have cooling water - NO NEW RIPARIAN OR PRIOR APPROPRIATION RIGHTS NEEDED

4. Already have access roads - NO NEW ROAD RIGHT-OF-WAYS NEEDED

5. Already have railroad tracks - NO NEW RAILROAD RIGHT-OF-WAYS NEEDED

6. Usually have ample land - NO NEW LAND NEEDED, COAL YARD LAND WILL BECOME LAWN

7. Already have proven operators who know the equipment - FEWER OPERATORS LOOSE JOBS, EXISTING OPERATORS WOULD BE BETTER PAID

8. Cleaner working environment - ENERGY PARKS ARE CLEAN

[A helpful power plant operator reader suggested I add the following. (Thank you)]

A few advantages you may want to list in terms of BOP. Feel free to use them or not...

1. Construction is made *cheaper* because most necessary roads, water transport and rail lines are already in place. A huge savings relative to a green field plant.

2. Licensing:
a. Water usage for everything from cooling to potable water. In place.
b. Sewage and waste water discharge. In place.
c. Air pollution (not that it's needed) in place, frees up carbon licenses if this occurs.
d. Hazardous waste storage/processing (all industrial facilities have to pay for this, regardless). In place.
e. Lube oil and chemical usage/storage licenses. In place.

3. Control Room(s). Only a retrofit of the existing coal plant controls for the electricity and carbon capture facility have to occur. A different new control room for the biosynfuels operation will be part of that facility.

4. Grid access. The grid and switchyard is *in place* and ready to swap over. If MW out put is close to the same, it's even possible the same main bank transmission can be used, a huge savings, along with, BTW, all the associated remote monitoring (relays for undervoltage, overvoltage, shorts, grounds, etc etc), already in place. No major transmission upgrades needed if mWs are to stay the same and even then, only minor ones at worse.

5. Human Resources. The coal plant will have trained operators and maintenance personnel many/some/a lot of whom will be able to migrate over (literally by walking) to the new plant after training upgrade qualifications. Biosynfuels operating and maintenance folks will have to be new.

6. Overall reduced footprint. Wildlife (my personal favorite) sanctuaries can be built as security belts around the formally soot-laden, coal spewed, plant site.

If we built nothing but new renewables, what would we do with all the existing fossil-fuel burning power plants we now have? This is a major economic and grid logistics question no one is asking.  Many have 40 or more years of productive and profitable life remaining.  This is the most important consideration when second and third world countries think about ending their Global Warming CO2.

FUN COMMENT: (From a reader:) 

Jim:  Stumbled on your web site and want to congratulate you on your mission.  I have been working on a similar unsolicited proposal to convert one of our largest coal plants in [deleted] to nuclear. The interest in the large plants is that one saves the incredible investment in sites, cooling towers, electric generators, some of the lower pressure stages of the turbines( as you are aware the nuclear plants have lower steam pressures and temperatures but multistage turbines can be converted to salvage some of their cost), the condensing equipment, the switching yard, and most importantly the transmission lines and towers.  A very rough estimate is that half the cost of a new nuclear plant of the same size could be salvaged.  The federal government could loan the money and the utility smart enough to make this change could return the loan in carbon credits.  Large nuclear plants are very labor intensive and we obviously need the jobs.  Keep pounding your drum.  Solar and wind won’t hack it.  [deleted]        (This author regards this approach viable.)

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Footnotes & Links

Aircraft engine emissions are roughly composed of about 70 percent CO2, a little less than 30 percent H2O, and less than 1 percent each of NOx, CO, SOx, VOC, particulates, and other trace components including HAPs. - FAA - 20.008. - - - Yes, but.  Air is 80 percent nitrogen.  Where's the nitrogen?

This brings up the question: Which is really the better route to carbon capture with an aeroderivative jet engine powering an electricity generator? 1, Oxyfuel? 2, Postcombustion? Lots to ponder here.

 

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Below is copied from "Introduction to Energy Parks" web page

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The Natural Gas Powered Energy Park Tour 


Upper:    1                         2         3                                       4                                     5                6                                               7        8 9                             
Lower: 16                                    15                                                                  13    14                                             12       10         11                                                

The Nuclear-Hydrogen-Biomass Energy System - slides
(Nuclear isn't necessarily a prerequisite.)

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2  Carbon Captured Natural Gas Combined Cycle Burning Gas Turbine

Dual GAS turbine + electricity generators dual heat recovery boilers single steam turbine + electricity generator.

A typical coal burning steam power plant is about 35% efficient. 
The above combined cycle system is 60% efficient, makes 1/2 the Climate Changing CO2.

7F 7 Gas Turbine Generator: 250 mW (Has been run on Arabian Super Light (ASL) Crude.), H25 Steam Generator: 270 mW, Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) 2,400 psi, 1,050F to 1,112F    72.004, 20.012

(Below) How an integral carbon capture unit could be added to above.)

(Below) How post-combustion carbon capture units work.

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3  Gas Burning, Carbon Captured, Thermochemical Hydrogen and Oxygen Plant

Excellent overview slide show:  Hydrogen Production Using Thermochemical Technology .pdf

 

Very high temperature custom industrial process furnaces:  http://www.carbolite-gero.com/products/  © 2017 Carbolite Gero Ltd., UK

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4  Original Coal Power Plant

 

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5  Biomass Grinder and Cleanup Chain

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6  Plasma Torch Biomass Gasifier

 Why plasma gasification was picked. You can get an idea of the performance of plasma gasification of biomass
from this paper by Czech Republic Milan Hrabovsky, Institute of Plasma Physics, ASCR: 
Thermal Plasma Gasification - 19.316.pdf  also:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_torch  

                     How Plasma Torch Pyrolyzation Works:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWAG4SCZo10
                     Alter Plasma (Westinghouse):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBqx8t-YLrw
                     Alter Overview Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrYJof510NU    
                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPRa31dS0vA 
                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut3I7OIPFR8 
                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7gzdFGc3y4 
                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI7s6IRpOHA
                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15bVXLrBW2o

Economics

The economics of MSW plasma gasification are favorable, although complex. Waste gasification facilities get paid for their intake of waste, via tipping fees. The system then earns revenues from the sale of power produced. Electricity is the primary product today, but liquid fuels, hydrogen, and synthetic natural gas are all possibilities for the future.

Sorting the MSW to capture commodity recyclables, such as metals and high value plastics, presents a third revenue stream. Minor revenue streams include the sales of slag and sulfur. Slag has the potential to be used for a number of construction products, such as rock wool, bricks and architectural tiles, and sulfur has some commodity value as fertilizer.

Additional costs are avoided by diverting waste from landfills and minimizing transportation of waste. Government subsidies for renewable energy or carbon credits may be substantial in the future, but are difficult to project.

A base case scenario with a 680 tonne per day (750 US tons) waste gasification plant which would be appropriate for a small city or regional facility, would cost an estimated $150 million (€108 million) to construct. A municipality that funds the entire project through bonds should seek a positive cash flow year-after-year via revenues from tipping fees, recyclables and electricity sales, as well as sales of slag and sulfur. There is considerable range in the values for each of these variables, and any proposed development would require extensive due diligence to determine local prices for each line item. Tipping fees, electricity rates, commodity recyclables, as well as interest rates and taxes, all vary dramatically – creating a model which needs to be thoroughly evaluated for any proposed development. The economics of waste gasification heavily favor recycling – inorganic materials like metal and glass have no value as fuel and make the gasification process less efficient, even though plasma torches have the ability to melt them.

High-value plastics and papers that can be readily separated are far more valuable as recyclables than as fuel. Certain plastics earn €195 per tonne ($300 per US ton) and certain types of paper can earn around €53 per tonne ($75 per US ton). For comparison, a tonne of waste may produce 0.8 MW of electricity, worth around €51 ($70) per MW. It is clear that any of these materials that can be separated and sold, are worth much more as commodities than as fuel.

Wide variety of inputs and outputs

There are additional waste streams available in certain locations which earn higher tipping fees than MSW because they are toxic and yet have excellent fuel value. Refinery wastes from petroleum and chemical plants, medical waste, auto shredder residue, construction debris, tires and telegraph poles, are all examples of potential fuels that can earn high tipping fees and provide good heat value. Additionally, there are millions of ton of low-grade waste coal that exist in massive piles throughout the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, US, that can be utilized for gasification.

Multiple outputs can be produced from a single facility. Heat and steam can be sold, and electricity production can be combined with ethanol or hydrogen production to maximize resources. Hydrogen can be readily produced from syngas by separating it from the carbon and oxygen, while synthetic natural gas can be produced by upgrading the methane content of syngas. Liquid fuels are typically produced from syngas through catalytic conversion processes such as Fischer-Tropsch – which has been widely used since World War II to produce motor fuels from coal. Biotech methods to produce liquid fuels are also being developed to use enzymes or micro-organisms to make the conversion.

Much research and effort is being put into developing more selective catalysts and productive enzymes which will raise system efficiencies to levels needed to be competitive. Currently, ethanol from gasification costs more than $2 a gallon (equivalent of €0.37 per liter), and it is estimated that production needs to cost closer to $1.25 (€0.90) or $1.50 (€1.10). Production of ethanol at demonstration scale has shown that one US ton of MSW can produce around 100 gallons (equivalent of 0.9 ton producing 380 liters) of ethanol, give or take 20%. Cost estimation for ethanol production is difficult, but rough calculations indicate that ethanol could potentially be more profitable than electricity.

Gasification is superior to incineration

Gasification is superior to incineration and offers a dramatic improvement in environmental impact and energy performance. Incinerators are high temperature burners that use the heat generated from the fire to run a boiler and steam turbine in order to produce electricity. During combustion, complex chemical reactions take place that bind oxygen to molecules and form pollutants, such as nitrous oxides and dioxins. These pollutants pass through the smokestack – unless exhaust scrubbers are put in place to clean the gases.

Gasification by contrast is a low-oxygen process, and fewer oxides are formed. The scrubbers for gasification are placed in line and are critical to the formation of clean gas, regardless of the regulatory environment. For combustion systems, the smokestack scrubbers offer no operational benefit and are put in place primarily to meet legal requirements. Plasma gasification systems employing proper scrubbers have extremely low emissions and no trouble meeting and beating the most stringent emissions targets.

The objective of gasification systems is to produce a clean gas used for downstream processes which requires specific chemistry, free of acids and particulates – so the scrubbing is an integral component to the system engineering, as opposed to a legal requirement that must be met.

Incinerator ash is also highly toxic and is generally disposed of in landfills, while the slag from plasma gasification is safe because it is melted and reforms in a tightly-bound molecular structure.

In fact, one of the main uses for plasma torches in the hazardous waste destruction industry has been to melt toxic incinerator ash into safe slag. The glassy slag is subject to EPA Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) regulations that measure eight harmful elements. Data from existing facilities, even those processing highly hazardous waste, has shown them to be well below regulatory limits.

Electricity production from plasma gasification is superior to that from incinerator combustion. Incinerators typically use the heat from combustion to power a steam turbine to produce power. Gasification systems can use gas turbines that are far more efficient, particularly when configured in integrated gasification combined cycle mode (IGCC).

Just as IGCC is the state-of-the-art in producing power from coal, the same is true when using MSW as the fuel source.

Carbon impact

The carbon impact of plasma gasification is significantly lower than other waste treatment methods. It is rated to have a negative carbon impact, especially when compared to allowing methane to form in landfills. Gasification is also an important enabling technology for carbon separation. It is primarily a carbon processing technology; it transforms solid carbon into gas form.

Syngas is comprised of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The hydrogen readily separates from the carbon monoxide allowing the hydrogen to be used while the carbon is sequestered. The US Department of Energy has identified gasification through its clean coal projects as a critical tool to enable carbon capture

Environmental opposition

Environmentalists have expressed opposition to waste gasification for two main reasons. The first argument is that any waste-to-energy facility will discourage recycling and divert resources from efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Economic studies of the waste markets show the opposite to be true; waste-to energy heavily favors the processing of waste to separate valuable commodities and to maximize its value for fuel.

The second argument made against waste gasification is that has the same emissions as incineration. These arguments are based on gasification systems which do not clean the gases and instead combust dirty syngas. Such systems are essentially two-stage burners and are not recommended for environmental reasons. There are many variations of combustion, pyrolysis and gasification - all used in different combinations. Proper engineering is required to achieve positive environmental performance.

- - - Above from: "PLASMA GASIFICATION: CLEAN RENEWABLE FUEL THROUGH VAPORIZATION OF WASTE" paper by Ed Dodge.

Reference Folders: 17.652, 19.316-3, 19.021

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7  Small Refinery To Synthesize Carbon-neutral Biosynfuels

             

There is more hydrogen in 1 L of liquid methanol than in 1 L of pure cryogenic hydrogen (98.8 g of hydrogen in 1 L of methanol at room temperature compared to 70.8 g in liquid hydrogen at –253 °C). Therefore, it There is more hydrogen in 1 L of liquid methanol than in 1 L of pure cryogenic hydrogen (98.8 g of hydrogen in 1 L of methanol at room temperature compared to 70.8 g in liquid hydrogen at –253 °C).

Therefore, it transpires that methanol is a safe carrier fuel for hydrogen.


 
Olah, George A.; Goeppert, Alain; Prakash, G. K. Surya. Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy (p. 207). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

(Below) A European synthesis process.

(Above) A direct biomass process being suggested in Germany.  Their problem is they are using biomass for heat.
More:  https://www.bioliq.de/english/26.php 
 

The key point is: "You can't burn biomass to make biosynfuels".  There isn't enough biomass for both. 
The BECCS example below shows what happens when you try.

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8  Carbon-neutral Biosynfuels This Small Refinery Might Make
    Methanol, Gasoline, Diesel, Dimethyl Ether

The plant would operate on a "largest profit" basis, switching available energy output as opportunities change over the day and the week.

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10  Deep Strata Sequestration CO2 Disposal Well

  (Right.) Some of the world's best CO2 Sequestration strata.

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Global Map of Depleted Oil Fields.

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13  Oil and Gas Field Map for Michigan

                          

(Center.) Showing most of Michigan's remaining oil is in depleted oil fields.

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Footnotes & Links

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