Gas turbine power cycles for retrofitting and repowering coal plants with post-combustion carbon dioxide capture
Sanchez del Rio Saez, Maria
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A widely-proposed way to retrofit coal-fired power plants with post-combustion CO2 capture (PCC) is to supply all the electricity and heat required to operate the capture equipment from the existing steam cycle (an ‘integrated retrofit’), at the expense of a reduction in site power output. As an alternative, it is possible to add a gas turbine (GT) plant to maintain, or even increase, the net site power output. The GT can be integrated with the capture plant in various ways to supply all or part of the heat and power required for the capture and compression systems. But there is then the issue of how to capture the CO2 emissions from the added GT plant. In this study a novel retrofit configuration is proposed. The exhaust gas of the GT replaces part of the secondary air for the coal boiler and a common capture system is used for both coal- and natural gas-derived CO2. This new ‘GT flue gas windbox retrofit’ is based on the principles of previous hot windbox repowering proposals, with additional modifications to permit operation without extensive coal boiler modifications. To achieve this, the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) attached to GT is designed to maintain the main steam turbine flow rates and temperatures, to compensate for a necessary reduction in coal feed rates, and this, with the GT output, maintains the net power output of the site A techno-economic analysis of coal plants retrofitted with GT power cycles shows that these ‘power matched’ retrofits can be competitive with integrated retrofits at lower natural gas prices (as is now the case in North America). In particular, the novel GT flue gas windbox retrofit provides a promising alternative for adapting integrated capture retrofits that are initially designed for flexible operation with zero to full (~90%) capture (as at the Boundary Dam 3 unit) for subsequent operation only with full capture. In this case the addition of a GT flue gas windbox retrofit will restore the full power output of the site with full CO2 capture and using the original capture plant. In general, techno-economic analysis shows that the economic performance of GT retrofit options depends on the site power export capacity. If there is no limit on power export then retrofits may advantageously also include an additional steam cycle, to give a combined cycle with the GT, otherwise retrofits with a single pressure HRSG producing process steam only are preferred.