RTI International Warm-Syngas Cleanup Technology Selected for Large-Scale Application at Tampa Electric

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Technology improves efficiency of combined cycle power plants by 10 percent, captures CO2 emissions.

Overall, this is an important technical step in developing commercial-scale technologies that more efficiently produce clean energy for our nation from domestic resources.

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As part of a national research effort to produce cleaner energy from fossil sources, RTI International has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a team that will demonstrate RTI's novel warm-synthesis gas (syngas) cleanup technology at Tampa Electric's Polk Power Station located in Polk County, Fla. The project will also test the capture and underground sequestration of a portion of the CO2 emissions.

This project is a critical element of the DOE's effort to develop breakthrough technologies for the clean and efficient use of U.S. coal resources for the generation of electrical power and the production of chemicals and fuels.

In addition to Tampa Electric, RTI's technology partners in the $168.8 million 50-megawatt scale project include The Shaw Group, Inc., BASF Corporation, Süd-Chemie, Inc., and Eastman Chemical Company. Funding for the project is being provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The gasification process converts carbon-based materials such as coal, petroleum coke and biomass into syngas, which requires cleanup and conditioning steps before being used for power generation.

RTI's technology removes contaminants such as sulfur and heavy metals at high temperatures, eliminating the need for syngas cooling and expensive heat recovery systems. This significantly increases the thermal efficiency and reduces the capital and operating costs of integrated gasification combined cycle power plants when compared to conventional process technology.

As part of the project, a portion of the carbon dioxide in the syngas will be captured, using a commercial CO2 separation technology, and stored in a deep saline aquifer at the Polk Power Station. A year-long operational phase is planned for this project, which will allow for capture and storage of about 300,000 tons of CO2.

Cost-effective syngas cleanup technology is also a key to achieving near-zero emissions from gasification-based chemical plants, for which the new technology is well suited.

"RTI is excited to be leading this effort to demonstrate the readiness of our warm-syngas cleanup technology for full commercial deployment," said Raghubir Gupta, Ph.D., senior director at RTI International's Center for Energy Technology and technical leader of the project. "Overall, this is an important technical step in developing commercial-scale technologies that more efficiently produce clean energy for our nation from domestic resources."

Partner Contributions

  •     BASF Corporation, a world leader in gas treatment technologies, will provide its advanced process technology (aMDEA) for CO2 separation from syngas.
  •     Eastman Chemical Company, a global chemical company, will provide consulting and support services through engineering and operation phases of the project. In the past, RTI and Eastman successfully conducted pilot tests of the syngas cleanup technology at Eastman's coal-to-chemicals facility in Kingsport, Tenn.
  •     RTI International, one of the world's leading independent research institutes, is the prime contractor for this project and will lead the overall project. In addition to project management, RTI will provide the technology for the removal of various contaminants, such as sulfur and heavy metals, from the syngas.
  •     Shaw, a leading global provider of engineering, construction, technology, and support services in the energy and chemicals industries, is expected to have overall engineering responsibility for all process components of the project.
  •     Süd-Chemie, Inc. (subsidiary of the Sud-Chemie Group), a global manufacturer of catalysts and adsorbents, will produce RTI's proprietary RTI-3 desulfurization sorbent and provide other catalysts and sorbents for the project.
  •     Tampa Electric Company will provide the host site for this demonstration at its Polk Power Station. Tampa Electric will assist in project management, permitting, oversight of CO2 injection, and measurement and monitoring of the CO2 in the saline formation.

RTI News Media Contacts
Email: news(at)rti(dot)org
Lisa Bistreich: 919-316-3596
Patrick Gibbons: 919-541-6136

About RTI International
RTI International is one of the world's leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. Our staff of more than 2,800 provides research and technical expertise to governments and businesses in more than 40 countries in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, international development, economic and social policy, energy and the environment, and laboratory and chemistry services. For more information, visit http://www.rti.org.

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