11,000 h of chemical-looping combustion operation—Where are we and where do we want to go?
A key for chemical-looping combustion (CLC) is the oxygen carrier. The ultimate test is obviously the actual operation, which reveals if it turns to dust, agglomerates or loses its reactivity or oxygen carrier capacity. The CLC process has been operated in 46 smaller chemical-looping combustors, for a total of more than 11,000 h. The operation involves both manufactured oxygen carriers, with 70% of the total time of operation, and less costly materials, i.e. natural ores or waste materials. Among manufactured materials, the most popular materials are based on NiO with 29% of the operational time, Fe2O3 with 16% and CuO with 13%. Among the monometallic oxides there are also Mn3O4 with 1%, and CoO with 2%. The manufactured materials also include a number of combined oxides with 11% of operation, mostly calcium manganites and other combined manganese oxides. Finally, the natural ores and waste materials include ilmenite, FeTiO3 with 13%, iron ore/waste with 9% and manganese ore with 6%. In the last years a shift towards more focus on CuO, combined oxides and natural ores has been seen. The operational experience shows a large variation in performance depending on pilot design, operational conditions, solids inventory, oxygen carrier and fuel. However, there is at present no experience of the process at commercial or semi-commercial scale, although oxygen-carrier materials have been successfully used in commercial fluidized-bed boilers for Oxygen-Carrier Aided Combustion (OCAC) during more than 12,000 h of operation. The paper discusses strategies for upscaling as well as the use of biomass for negative emissions. A key question is how scaling-up will affect the performance, which again will determine the costs for purification of CO2 through e.g. oxy-polishing. Unfortunately, the conditions in the small-scale pilots do not allow for any safe conclusions with respect to performance in full scale. Nevertheless, the experiences from pilot operation shows that the process works and can be expected to work in the large scale and gives important information, for instance on the usefulness of various oxygen-carriers. Because further research is not likely to improve our understanding of the performance that can be achieved in full scale, there is little sense in waiting with the scale-up. A major difficulty with the scaling-up of a novel process is in the risk. First-of-its-kind large-scale projects include risks of technical mistakes and unforeseen obstacles, leading to added costs or, in the worst case, failure. One way of addressing these risks is to focus on the heart of the process and build it with maximum flexibility for future use. A concept for maximum flexibility is the Multipurpose Dual Fluidized Bed (MDFB). Another is to find a suitable existing plant, e.g. a dual fluidized-bed thermal gasifier. With present emissions the global CO2 budget associated with a maximum temperature of 2 °C may be spent in around 20–25 years, whereas the CO2 budget for 1.5 °C is may be exhausted in 10 years. Thus, the need for both CO2 neutral fuels and negative emissions will become increasingly urgent as we are nearing or transgressing the maximum amount of CO2 that can be emitted without compromising the global climate agreement in Paris saying we must keep “well below” 2 °C and aim for a maximum of 1.5 °C. Thus, biomass may turn out to be a key fuel for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), because CO2-free power does not necessarily need CCS, but negative emissions will definitely need Bio-CCS.
Carbon Capture and Storage
Negative CO2 Emissions