Design of a H2 pressure swing adsorption process at an advanced IGCC plant for cogenerating hydrogen and power with CO2 capture
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Strong dependency on fossil fuels and the associated price and supply chain risk increase the need for more efficient utilisation of existing non-renewable energy sources. Carbon capture and hydrogen purification technologies are expected to play a key role in the future low-carbonised energy matrix. Integrated Gasification Combined Cycles (IGCCs) are one of the emerging clean coal technologies which pave the way for producing power from coal with a higher net power efficiency than conventional PC-fired boiler power plants. It is also advantageous that in an IGCC power plant a carbon capture unit can be applied to a stream having a very high CO2 partial pressure ahead of gas combustion that would not be available in case of a PC-fired boiler power plant, leading to less energy penalty involved in carbon capture. At the same time, the production of ultrapure hydrogen is both a sought target and an appropriate environmental solution because it is commonly utilised as feedstock in refineries’ hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers as well as energy carrier in fuel cells. A high purity of hydrogen has been commercially produced out of raw synthesis gas using a Hydrogen Pressure Swing Adsorption (H2 PSA) process. In this thesis, it was aimed to design and optimise a bespoke H2 PSA system tailored for a decarbonised syngas feed originating from a carbon capture unit. Therefore, a novel H2 PSA has been studied that is applied to an advanced IGCC plant for cogenerating power and ultrapure hydrogen (99.99+ mol%) with pre-combustion CO2 capture. In designing the H2 PSA, it is essential to increase the recovery of ultrapure hydrogen product to its maximum since the power consumption for compressing the H2 PSA tail gas up to the gas turbine operating pressure should be minimised to save the total auxiliary power consumption. Hydrogen recovery was raised by increasing the complexity of the PSA step configuration that allows a PSA cycle to have a lower feed flow to one column being used for adsorption and more pressure equalisation steps. An in-depth economic analysis was carried out and discussed in detail. The industrial advanced IGCC performances have also been improved by process integration between the H2 PSA unit and other units in the plant.