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IEA Clean Coal Centre Webinars

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  • Emerging markets for pollution control technologies Emerging markets for pollution control technologies Dr Lesley Sloss Recorded: Jan 18 2017 45 mins
    Legislation is being implemented around the world to reduce emissions of pollutants from coal-fired power plants. For those countries that started to apply control strategies several years ago, the control technology market has evolved alongside the legislation in a somewhat piecemeal manner. So the majority of older plants in developed regions have applied controls in series: control technologies for particulates first, followed by controls for SO2, and then controls for NOx. New legislation is introducing requirements for mercury and fine particulate control in some regions, often requiring further retrofitting of additional control systems. For those emerging regions that are just starting to bring in control requirements, there is the option of copying this piece-by-piece approach to control, or alternatively to apply newer technologies which can control several pollutants simultaneously. This multi-pollutant approach could be cost-effective in many regions. However, the applicability of different technologies varies. For example, regions with high ash and/or high sulphur coals may require different control strategies from those with intrinsically cleaner coals. Also, availability of water, land and funds will all play a role in determining which technology will be applied at each plant. And so the control technology market that is currently expanding in Asia may differ significantly from that in North America and the EU. The international marketing strategies for emission control technology manufacturers must take into account differences in performance standards, economic challenges, business traditions and many other factors. This webinar summarises the potential markets for emissions control noting the areas for potential growth, such as China, Poland, India and Indonesia. Each has its own regional issues.
  • Update on public outreach for CCS projects Update on public outreach for CCS projects Toby Lockwood Recorded: Dec 14 2016 30 mins
    Following a few early failures of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects due to public opposition to the technology, a considered public communication strategy is now regarded as an essential factor in the success of any prospective CCS project. Most active opposition to CCS has occurred in parts of Europe, where public fears over CO2 leaks, water contamination, or ‘industrialisation’ of rural areas combined with opposition by environmental groups and others to fossil fuels playing any role in a future energy mix. However, many other projects have since won acceptance or even widespread support, thanks either to improved public engagement or more favourable local context. Several key features of a successful communication strategy have been identified, including the need for engagement early in the process, encouraging and responding to community feedback, building and maintaining trust in the project developers, and use of a dedicated communications team with clear messages which are tailored to their intended audience. This report provides a comprehensive review of the public outreach strategy and results at most notable CCS demonstrations to date, and looks to future challenges for CCS communication. With the barrier of local acceptance appearing surmountable in most regions, the problem of making the wider case for CCS as a viable option for climate change mitigation largely remains. This could potentially be addressed through education initiatives and more effective use of mass media.
  • Operating ratio and cost of coal power generation Operating ratio and cost of coal power generation Hermine Nalbandian-Sugden Recorded: Nov 16 2016 45 mins
    The webinar opens with an overview of the current status of coal power generation. This will be followed by discussion of the operating ratios for power generating companies. Operating ratios represent revenue and expense categories found on a typical financial statement. They can be presented as a ratio or a percentage value. The smaller the operating ratio, the greater margin an organisation has to make a profit. These ratios allow a company to compare its operational performance across various times, analyse its data and take the necessary steps in order to maintain its operational performance and as such, as low an operating ratio (%) as possible. Many factors contribute towards the operating costs of a power generating company including the cost of fuel, staff, operation & maintenance (O&M) costs and depreciation and amortisation. The higher costs these factors are, the higher the operating ratio will be and, therefore, the lower the operational efficiency of a company. The cost of coal-fired power generation varies at the national and plant level. However, due to the increase in renewable energy, coal-fired power has shifted in many countries from baseload to load following mode necessitating flexibility in power plant operations. The more frequent cycling of coal-fired power plants can cause thermal and pressure stresses. Over time, these can result in premature or unplanned component failure and increased maintenance. Repeated starting up and shutting down of a unit, or operating at part load, can also increase emissions compared to non-cyclic operation. Measures can be taken to minimise the impact of cycling on plant performance. Assessment and control of O&M costs play a major role in calculating operating ratios. The webinar finishes with future projections for coal in power generation.
  • Low quality coals - key commercial, environmental and plant considerations Low quality coals - key commercial, environmental and plant considerations Dr Stephen Mills Recorded: Oct 19 2016 39 mins
    Around half of the world’s estimated recoverable coal reserves comprise coals of low quality and value. These are mainly subbituminous and high-ash bituminous coals, and various grades of lignite. All are important for power generation and cogeneration. Each coal type brings its own combination of advantages and disadvantages. Despite the latter, a number of countries have turned increasingly to the use of such coals.
    In the last decade, subbituminous coals and coals with higher ash content have been introduced into the market and traded in increasing quantities. As reserves of some better quality export coals have been depleted, there has been a shift towards the greater use of variants of lower quality, often to cut costs. However, switching may reduce power plant efficiency, increase emissions, and escalate plant maintenance requirements.
    A number of major economies rely heavily on indigenous resources of lower quality coals as they may be the main energy resource available and are often cheap to mine using large scale opencast techniques. They can provide a secure source of energy and help minimise dependence on imported supplies.
    The webinar examines the current production and use of these three categories of coal and discusses what the future may hold. All three are expected to continue to play a major role in energy production for some time.
  • Prospects for HELE power plant uptake in India Prospects for HELE power plant uptake in India Dr Ian Barnes Recorded: Sep 21 2016 34 mins
    India’s future energy needs are likely to grow more than any other country in the period to 2040. Energy consumption is predicted to more than double by 2040, with a consequent growth in the use of coal and oil.

    India’s coal fleet is relatively young, predominantly subcritical but with a large tranche of future capacity planned or under construction. However, the planned future capacity is largely supercritical, rather than the current state-of-the-art ultra-supercritical technology that has been extensively proven in other countries. Indian projections and current policy seem to indicate that this trend will continue in the near future. This appears to be a missed opportunity for India to have the most efficient and modern plant to drive her economic growth; lower efficiency plant built in preference to the best high efficiency low emission (HELE) alternatives now would be “locked in” to the generating sector for the lifetime of that plant, possibly forty years.

    The choice of subcritical, and now supercritical plant, over more advanced options is attributed to a cautious and conservative approach, gathering “home grown” experience on plant performance and maintenance in the light of challenges posed by India’s high ash coal resource. While this was undoubtedly a reasonable approach where power generation technologies were developed and built using regional skills and facilities, in the modern globalised power market a huge body of experience exists in dealing with all types of coal and manufacturers are prepared to design and offer high performance plant to burn even the most difficult coals, with full commercial guarantees. Fortunately, recent developments show that the Indian market is becoming more receptive to ultra-supercritical as the technology of first choice, but there is still much to be done to avoid the Indian coal fleet becoming locked into mainly supercritical plant.
  • China - policies, HELE technologies and CO2 emission reduction China - policies, HELE technologies and CO2 emission reduction Dr Qian Zhu Recorded: Aug 17 2016 37 mins
    As the world’s largest consumer of coal and leading CO2 emitter, China’s role in the international effort to combat climate change can hardly be overstated. The challenges China faces to control emission and pollution levels while meeting the country’s increasing energy demand are enormous. Over the years, China has made considerable efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and control pollution levels, and notable progress has been made through the implementation of ambitious programmes aimed at improving energy efficiency across a number of industrial sectors and a rapid scale up of renewable energy. This study reviews China’s policy and regulatory initiatives, in particular those aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions, HELE (high efficiency low emissions) upgrades, diversify the energy mix, as well as the progress to date in reaching a series of ambitious goals. China’s rapid expansion of non-fossil energy which affects the structural change of the power sector and coal use in electricity generation, and therefore, CO2 emissions from coal-fired power generation are also discussed.

    China has provided strong financing and policy support for the R&D of HELE technologies. China now possesses a range of HELE technologies that are applicable to new and/or retrofitting of the existing coal-fired power plants and they are described in the webinar. Finally, the peak of coal consumption and CO2 emissions from power generation from coal, in light of China’s economic and policy trends affecting the structure of the economy and the coal consumption, are assessed.
  • Potential water sources for coal-fired power plants Potential water sources for coal-fired power plants Anne Carpenter Recorded: Jul 13 2016 34 mins
    Global energy demand is rising, while water is becoming a scarcer commodity in many parts of the world due to over-exploitation, droughts, heat waves, and other factors. Meeting the growing demand will place
    increasing stress on limited fresh water resources. The power generation industry is typically the largest industrial user of fresh water in a country. Consequently, the vulnerability of the power generation
    industry to constraints in water availability can be expected to increase. Hence non-fresh water sources will become increasingly important. This report examines the availability and use of potential non-fresh water sources in China, India, South Africa and the USA. These are the four top thermal coal consuming countries in the world. The alternative sources are municipal waste water, brackish and sea water, mine
    water, produced water from oil and gas wells (including coalbed methane wells), and water extracted from deep saline aquifers during CO2 storage. In certain cases, and with suitable design of the on-site
    water treatment plant, a coal-fired power plant could become a supplier of both energy and fresh water, instead of a water consumer.
  • Levelling the intermittency of renewables with coal - costs and risks Levelling the intermittency of renewables with coal - costs and risks Dr Lesley Sloss Recorded: Jun 8 2016 42 mins
    Countries are setting ever higher goals for producing power from clean, renewable energies and some are actively turning their backs on fossil fuels. However, many of these regions are discovering the real challenges of trying to produce baseload power for public consumption from renewable sources which are, at best, intermittent, and, at worse, unpredictable and unreliable. Until large scale energy storage is available and affordable, baseload power from coal, gas, and/or nuclear will remain necessary in many regions for several more years. Obviously this baseload power is required when renewable output is low (when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow). However, it is also still required to make up the balance of power in a diverse energy mix. Under the new energy policy regimes in many regions, renewable sources have priority into the grid and sit in the guaranteed dispatch mix in the base region which coal used to occupy. Coal has now been nudged into the dispatchable area of the mix, being asked to ramp up or down or even to idle or run beyond normal capacity, sometimes at short notice, to produce the balance of power required to maintain grid output. And whilst coal plants can run relatively flexibly, this does not come without cost. Most older coal-fired units were designed to run at steady output. Asking these plants to cycle and ramp puts stresses on the plant which can result in added cost, less efficient production, increased wear and tear and, in some cases, damage causing enforced outages for repair and/or upgrade. This webinar, looks at the stresses placed on coal-fired plants as they are asked to help levelise and counterbalance the intermittency of renewable sources, concentrating on the risks and costs. Case studies and examples of issues being encountered in the USA, the UK and Germany are included.
  • Emission standards and control of PM2.5 from coal-fired power plant Emission standards and control of PM2.5 from coal-fired power plant Xing Zhang Recorded: May 18 2016 46 mins
    It is a concern that emissions from coal combustion may pollute the air. A lot of effort has been made to
    regulate, control and prevent the pollutants emitted from coal-fired power plants. The coal industry is
    facing increasingly stringent emission regulations, for the release of SO2, NOx, toxic volatile organic
    compounds, heavy metals, and particulate matter (PM). PM can contain any or all of the aforementioned
    chemical species or their compounds, plus water and biogenic organic species. PM2.5, as fine PM, can be
    inhaled into human respiratory systems and travel deep into the lungs causing health problems. PM2.5 is
    also considered to be a major cause of smog in cities and elsewhere. This webinar describes the
    international and selected countries’ national air quality and PM emission standards for stationary
    sources that are relevant to coal-fired power plants. Emission standards for SO2 and NOx are included
    since they are precursors of secondary fine PM. International and national measurement standards are
    summarised. Recent developments in PM emission control technologies are reviewed.
  • Next generation carbon capture technologies for coal Next generation carbon capture technologies for coal Toby Lockwood Recorded: Apr 27 2016 38 mins
    Established CO2 capture technologies such as absorption with amine solvents are associated with significant energetic and economic penalties, reducing power plant efficiency by around 10% points and increasing the cost of electricity production by up to 80%. Dedicated research programmes worldwide have pursued the development of a wide range of innovative, alternative technologies for CO2 capture, largely by addressing the fundamental gas separation step at the heart of post-combustion, pre-combustion or oxyfuel combustion processes. Novel solvents with lower energy requirements than conventional amines, using phase change systems, ionic liquids, enzyme-activation, or non-aqueous solvents, are promising approaches for post-combustion capture. Alternatively, techniques used in other commercial gas separations, including solid sorbents, membranes, and cryogenic separation, have also been developed for carbon capture through extensive materials research and process optimisation. Whilst challenging for post-combustion capture applications, these techniques may be of particular benefit to pre-combustion capture systems where much higher partial pressures of CO2 are available, and integration of the CO2 capture step and water gas shift reaction can be achieved using sorbents or membranes. In oxyfuel combustion, membranes are also an option for efficient oxygen production, but pressurised combustion systems have demonstrated the most potential for efficiency improvements, potentially in combination with novel power cycles which are better-suited to exploiting the altered combustion conditions. Finally, chemical looping combustion is a unique approach to carbon capture which can achieve dramatic energy savings through its inherent avoidance of any gas separation step, and is undergoing significant scale up. This webinar will review these developments in novel capture technologies and highlight the most promising strategies for achieving major cost reductions.

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