We were part of a UK consortium aiming to support the clean and efficient utilisation of coal in a carbon-constrained world using oxy-fuel combustion with carbon capture storage (CCS).

Key Facts

    • The OxyCAP UK consortium aimed to transfer the latest advances in air-fired coal combustion modelling and experimental measurements to oxy-fuel combustion (burning a fuel using pure oxygen instead of air as the primary oxidant).
    • A 100kW (kilowatt) oxy-fuel pulverised fuel combustion system has been retrofitted on campus as a result of this project. Co-firing of pulverised coal and biomass fuels can be done in both air and oxy- firing modes.
    • The four and a half year project also involved the universities of Cambridge, Kent, Imperial College London, Leeds and Nottingham. The consortium’s advisory panel contained representatives from Doosan Babcock, E.ON, International Energy Agency (IEA) Clean Coal Centre / IEA GHG, and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
    • We received £327,000 of the total £1.7million funding.
  • Funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Impact of our research

The major environmental benefit of oxy-fuel combustion is the ability to generate clean electrical power from coal with (virtually) zero emissions of pollutant and greenhouse gases. The continued use of coal will economically benefit UK industry through the availability of electricity at a competitive cost, giving a commercial advantage to UK-based companies in export markets.

The ability of UK-based manufacturing companies to supply carbon capture technologies provides commercial opportunities in domestic and export markets.

UK generators and manufacturers will also benefit directly by the knowledge gained from the improved design concept based on advanced and validated modelling and simulation capabilities, leading to enhanced, efficient oxy-coal combustion systems.

Improved oxy-fuel systems help with the UK Government’s stated goals on reducing CO2 emissions and to make global progress towards the effective mitigation of climate change.

Why the research was commissioned

The OxyCAP UK consortium set out to generate scientific and technical information to support the clean and efficient utilisation of coal in a carbon-constrained world using oxy-fuel combustion with carbon capture storage (CCS).

It aimed to transfer the latest advances in air-fired coal combustion modelling and experimental measurements to oxy-fuel combustion (burning a fuel using pure oxygen instead of air as the primary oxidant).

There is a high potential of oxy-coal CCS technology to be used for both future plants and to retrofit for existing plants. This means improvements in oxy-fuel combustion are likely to contribute to the acceleration and widespread introduction of carbon capture and storage.

Why Cranfield?

We and the other project partners possess a blend of long and complementary experience in coal combustion with ongoing participation in the UK and international work in oxy-fuel combustion.

The project wanted to transfer the latest advances in air-fired coal combustion modelling and experimental measurements to oxy-fuel combustion. In particular, only by using more realistic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models is it likely to gain fundamental insights into oxy-fuel flame behaviour and to make accurate predictions of critical parameters such as ignition and thermal radiation.

Using a retrofitted pulverised oxy-fuel rig onsite, we developed a validation and verification environment that integrated experimental results.

A further project, Advanced Oxy-turbine Power Cycle (AOPC), has since been funded and capitalised on the OxyCAP UK work.

Facilities used

  • A 100kW retrofitted pulverised oxy-fuel rig was developed

  • Sulphur trioxide (SO3) measurement kit was developed.