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Low-cost CO2 capture by chemical looping combustion
of waste-derived fuels

SINTEF Visits Pilot Plant at Technische Universität Darmstadt

One of ACT LOUISE’s objectives is to demonstrate the chemical looping combustion (CLC) of solid waste-derived fuels in a realistic environment. These tests will be performed in two different pilot plants: one that is fed by a solid fuel flow of 1 megawatt of thermal input (1 MWth) and one with 150 kilowatts of thermal input (kWth).

Last week, research scientists from SINTEF were given a tour of Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt’s 1 MWth pilot plant ahead of the first ACT LOUISE general assembly

“For me as a former SINTEF employee, it was a particular pleasure to guide our guests from Norway through our 1 MWth pilot plant, which is a worldwide unique research infrastructure for pilot testing of fluidized bed-based CO2 capture and gasification technologies,” said Jochen Ströhle, senior researcher at TU Darmstadt and ACT LOUISE project administrator.

The pilot plant was constructed in 2010 and is operated by the Institute for Energy Systems and Technology at TU Darmstadt. The total facility is worth around EUR 15 million.

The plant consists of a 1 MWth combustion chamber and two interconnected circulating fluidised bed reactors. It also features the necessary infrastructure for CO2 capture, combustion and gasification tests, including a solid fuel feeding system, technical gas supply, cooling system, bag filters, fans, and measuring equipment.

The pilot plant has been used in multiple projects to demonstrate carbonate looping (CaL) processes – wherein limestone is used to capture CO2 from flue gas – and chemical looping combustion (CLC) processes – wherein the CO2 produced when a fuel is burned is isolated and separated from the air.

In ACT LOUISE, the pilot plant will be used to test CLC of solid waste, using ilmenite from Norway as the oxygen carrier. While this is the first time that the plant will perform these types of tests, TU Darmstadt will adapt and validate the models it has already developed for other CLC processes to be used for this project.

The goal for these tests is to achieve a 90% CO2 capture rate and 90% CO2 purity. If they are successful, the results will contribute to the development of a basic design of a 10 MWth demonstration plant, which will take the tests of this technology to the next level.

SINTEF has participated in several projects that include tests in the 1 MWth pilot plant, and operates its own 150 kWth CLC pilot plant, which is a registered European Research Infrastructure in ECCSEL. 

The 150 kWth CLC pilot plant will perform the first tests for ACT LOUISE, and the results will be used to define the operating conditions for the 1 MWth pilot tests.

From left to right: Øyvind Langørgen (SINTEF Energy Research), Jochen Ströhle (TU Darmstadt), Zuoan Li (SINTEF Industry), Yngve Larring (SINTEF Industry), Inge Saanum (SINTEF Energy Research) and Nils Erland L. Haugen (SINTEF Energy Research).

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