Techno-Economic Assessment of Calcium Looping for Thermochemical Energy Storage with CO2 Capture
Journal article, 2021
The cyclic carbonation-calcination of CaCO3 in fluidized bed reactors not only offers a possibility for CO2 capture but can at the same time be implemented for thermochemical energy storage (TCES), a feature which will play an important role in a future that has an increasing share of non-dispatchable variable electricity generation (e.g., from wind and solar power). This paper provides a techno-economic assessment of an industrial-scale calcium looping (CaL) process with simultaneous TCES and CO2 capture. The process is assumed to make profit by selling dispatchable electricity and by providing CO2 capture services to a certain nearby emitter (i.e., transport and storage of CO2 are not accounted). Thus, the process is connected to two other facilities located nearby: a renewable non-dispatchable energy source that charges the storage and a plant from which the CO2 in its flue gas flow is captured while discharging the storage and producing dispatchable electricity. The process, which offers the possibility of long-term storage at ambient temperature without any significant energy loss, is herein sized for a given daily energy input under certain boundary conditions, which mandate that the charging section runs steadily for one 12-h period per day and that the discharging section can provide a steady output during 24 h per day. Intercoupled mass and energy balances of the process are computed for the different process elements, followed by the sizing of the main process equipment, after which the economics of the process are computed through cost functions widely used and validated in literature. The economic viability of the process is assessed through the breakeven electricity price (BESP), payback period (PBP), and as cost per ton of CO2 captured. The cost of the renewable energy is excluded from the study, although its potential impact on the process costs if included in the system is assessed. The sensitivities of the computed costs to the main process and economic parameters are also assessed. The results show that for the most realistic economic projections, the BESP ranges from 141 to −20 $/MWh for different plant sizes and a lifetime of 20 years. When the same process is assessed as a carbon capture facility, it yields a cost that ranges from 45 to −27 $/tCO2-captured. The cost of investment in the fluidized bed reactors accounts for most of the computed capital expenses, while an increase in the degree of conversion in the carbonator is identified as a technical goal of major importance for reducing the global cost.
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