nized. Piloting even at a 1,000 ton/day scale cannot completely ensure the same results at 10,000 ton/day. This differs from processing gases or liquids, where extrapolation from laboratory to full commercial scale in a single step is now commonly practiced, based on an in-depth understanding of the chemical engineering parameters governing such operations. For example, a 14,000 bbl/day commercial Mobil fixed-bed methanol-to-gasoline plant was designed and built based on a 4 bbl/day laboratory unit (Bibby et al., 1988). The difficulty of scale-up when processing solids, such as coal, increases with increasing complexity of the process. Systems that require multiple sequential or tightly integrated solids reactors are at a distinct disadvantage; simplicity is at a premium for solids processing, and this extends to the many auxiliary steps required for the demonstration of a complete coal-fired power generation system. Thus, in scaling-up coal technologies, notably for power generation, there is a need for prudent stepwise increases in capacity from laboratory to pilot plant to demonstration scale. The complexity of power generation systems implies that commercialization is particularly expensive.
The objective of the DOE demonstration and commercialization effort is to enhance the process whereby a developing technology is demonstrated at the commercial scale such that it is regarded as commercially available by the ultimate user. In most instances this requires the mitigation or elimination of the additional technological and economic risks that the user associates with the adoption of a new as compared to a proven technology. In the power generation area, the investor-owned utility cannot generally assume the risk of a new technology, faced with a possible loss of return on investment from the rate-making authority if the technology does not perform as expected and requires modification.
It is an accepted principle for advancing new technology to commercial maturity that the first-of-a-kind commercial plant is significantly higher in cost to build than subsequent plants and does not provide adequate information on all operating, maintenance, and cost issues. A new technology is not considered mature and commercially demonstrated until two to five applications of the technology have been installed, as illustrated by the generic capital cost learning curve shown in Figure 8-1. The issue for DOE is how to enhance the installation of additional applications of early demonstrations.
The CCT program is a technology development effort jointly funded by government and industry in which advanced coal-based technologies are being demonstrated at a scale large enough for the marketplace to judge their commercial potential. A unique feature of the program is that industry plays a major role in defining the demonstration project and in ensuring eventual commercialization. It is intended that once the program is complete the private sector should be able to make use of the technologies developed in the commercial arena without