Performance and Cost Potential for Direct-Fired Supercritical CO2 Natural Gas Power Plants

National Energy Technology Laboratory/NETL Support Contractor – Pittsburgh, USA
Pidaparti, Sandeep R.;
National Energy Technology Laboratory/NETL Support Contractor – Fairfax, USA
White, Charles W.;
National Energy Technology Laboratory – Morgantown, USA
Liese, Eric;
National Energy Technology Laboratory – Pittsburgh, PA
Weiland, Nathan T.

Direct-fired supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles are being explored as an attractive alternative to natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS). Therefore, understanding their performance and cost potential is important for the commercialization of the technology. This study presents the techno-economic optimization results of natural gas-fired, utility-scale power plants based on the direct sCO2 power cycle, which are lacking in public literature. To identify the optimum plant configuration, the study considered multiple cases with varying levels of thermal integration with the plant air separation unit (ASU). Several design variables for each power cycle configuration were identified and optimized to minimize the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for each case. The optimization design variables include the sCO2 cooler outlet temperatures, recuperator approach temperatures, and pressure drops. High fidelity models for recuperators, coolers, and turbines were developed and used to capture the impact of design variables on plant efficiency and capital costs. The optimization was conducted using a combination of manual sensitivity analyses and automated derivative-free optimization algorithms available under NETL’s Framework for Optimization and Quantification of Uncertainty and Sensitivity platform.

The optimized direct sCO2 power plants offered similar or slightly higher plant efficiencies than the reference NGCC plants based on the F-class gas turbine with carbon capture and storage (CCS). The LCOE of the optimized direct sCO2 plants is 13 to 17% higher than the reference NGCC plants with CCS due to high capital costs associated with the ASU and sCO2 power block, though there is significant room for improvement due to the high uncertainty in component capital costs for these new plants. Recuperators make up over 50% of the sCO2 power block costs. Consequently, any research and development efforts to reduce the recuperator capital costs will benefit the technology’s commercialization. The study also presents preliminary results showing the impact of co-firing landfill gas and natural gas on plant efficiency, LCOE, and CO2 emissions.

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