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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future 2 Overview of the Vision 21 Program Plan and Goals One aspect of OFE's mission is to enhance U.S. economic and energy security through energy-related research for the "environmentally sound production and use of fossil fuels." Another aspect is a partnership with industry and others to "advance clean and efficient fossil energy technologies towards commercialization in the U.S. and internationally" (DOE, 1999a). In FY99, a total budget of $384 million was established for research and development (R&D) activities in the OFE (the budget for FY98 was $362 million). The total fossil energy R&D budget appropriated for FY00 was $379 million, and $376 million was requested for FY01. The OFE's Federal Energy Technology Center (FETC) has been assigned the lead role in managing the development of the Vision 21 technologies.1 FETC has elaborated OFE's mission to include performance, procurement, and partnering in technical research, development, and demonstration to advance technology into the commercial marketplace, thereby benefiting the environment, contributing to U.S. employment, and supporting the position of U.S. industries in the global market (DOE, 1999a). FETC's budget was $597 million in FY98 and $717 million in FY99. The budget for the nation's newest national laboratory, NETL, is $465 million for FY00. 1 FETC became the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) on December 10, 1999. All references to FETC should now apply to NETL.
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future BUDGET Funding for the Vision 21 Program comes from existing product lines in the R&D budget of the Coal and Power Systems Program. These product lines include integrated-gasification combined-cycle systems (IGCCs), turbines, advanced combustion, fuel cells, indirectly fired cycles (IFCs), fuels, and other advanced research. The program budget for "Vision 21" activities in all of these product lines amounted to about $14 million in FY98 and $18 million in FY99. Most activities associated with Vision 21 have been on IGCCs. Future work will focus on critical modules, such as high-efficiency bottoming cycles, air (oxygen) and syngas (hydrogen) separation membranes, multiple feedstock turbines, the integration of fuel cells and turbines, the development of virtual demonstrations, advanced combustion, ultra-high-temperature materials, and the synthesis of clean fuels. In OFE's budget for FY00, approximately $29 million is focused on Vision 21 activities. Vision 21 does not yet have a budget, however. It represents a shift in objectives within OFE, not new line items in the OFE budget. In future years, funding for Vision 21 activities is expected to increase and eventually surpass the budget for central power plant energy generation. The other parts of the Coal and Power Systems Program (i.e., distributed power, innovations for existing power plants, carbon sequestration, fuels, and other projects) are expected to continue to receive funding outside of the Vision 21 Program. GOALS Vision 21 is described by DOE as a program for the development of integrated concepts for high-efficiency power generation and pollution control from a new class of fossil-fueled facilities capable of coproducing electric power, process heat, and high-value fuels and chemicals. The major goals of the program are elaborated in Table 2-1. STRUCTURE The focus of the program will be on flexible components and subsystems to enable modular designs for plants that can use multiple feedstocks or produce multiple products. To establish a blueprint, DOE plans to focus Vision 21 on several elements that will be common to all of the facilities under consideration: Enabling technologies, such as flexible-fuel gasification, flexible-fuel turbines, fuel cells, advanced combustion and high-temperature heat exchangers, will be the building blocks of twenty-first century energy plants. Supporting technologies for crosscutting technologies, such as controls and sensors, new materials, advanced computational modeling, and virtual
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future TABLE 2-1 Goals of the Vision 21 Program Attributes Goals Efficiency-Electricity Generation 60 percent for coal-based systems (based on fuel HHV);a 75 percent for natural gas-based systems (LHV) with no credit for cogenerated steam. Efficiency-Combined Electricity/Heat Overall thermal efficiency above 85 percent; also meets above efficiency goals for electricity.b Efficiency-Fuels Only Plant When producing fuels such as H2 or liquid transportation fuels alone from coal, 75 percent fuels utilization efficiency (LHV). Environmental Near zero emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, trace elements, and organic compounds; 40–50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by efficiency improvement; 100 percent reduction with sequestration. Costs Aggressive targets for capital and operating costs and RAM;c products of Vision 21 plants must be cost-competitive with market clearing prices when they are commercially deployed. Timing Major benefits (e.g., improved gasifiers and combustors, gas separation membranes) begin by 2006 or earlier; designs for most Vision 21 subsystems and modules available by 2012; Vision 21 commercial plant designs available by 2015, a The higher heating value (HHV) of the fuel is the maximum potential energy in dry fuel. Typically, gas turbine efficiency is based on the lower heating value (LHV) of the fuel used. LHV is the potential energy in a fuel if the water vapor from the combustion of the fuel is not condensed. Since the LHV assumes that fuel delivers less energy input than the HHV, any thermodynamic efficiency, E, based on the LHV will be higher than one based on HHV in simple inverse proportion; that is, ELHV/EHHV = HHV/LHV. The numerical difference between LHV and HHV depends on the fuel, and is smallest for coal (LHV roughly 4 percent lower than HHV), and greatest for natural gas (where LHV is about 10 percent lower). b The efficiency goal for a plant cofeeding coal and natural gas will be calculated on a pro-rata basis. The efficiency goal for a plant producing both electricity and fuels will be calculated on a pro-rata basis. c reliability, availability, maintenance Source: Adapted from DOE, 1999b.
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future demonstration, will be critical for the multiple subsystems and components that will support the development of Vision 21 plants. Systems integration will require new techniques for combining high-performance subsystems into very clean, efficient, low-cost plants. The program objectives of Vision 21 include demonstrated modules and/or full plant designs by the year 2015. To simplify the committee's review of Vision 21 research and development (R&D), the program was divided into three areas: enabling technologies supporting technologies and systems integration commercialization Commercialization was considered as a separate area because success of the program will depend on the successful transfer of Vision 21 technologies to the marketplace. PRINCIPLES The United States currently has a diverse and relatively low-cost supply of energy, primarily based on fossil fuels, for the production of electricity, process heat, transportation fuels, and chemical feedstocks. Relatively low-cost fossil-fuel energy supplies are a critical component of the current economic prosperity and favorable trade position of the United States globally and are likely to be so for the foreseeable future. As recent studies of U.S. energy needs have shown, preserving options for using diverse energy sources is an essential element of a national energy R&D policy (PCAST, 1997; PCAST, 1999). U.S. energy supplies and technology also must meet public demands and regulatory requirements for environmental quality and responsible stewardship of the nation's natural resources. Thus, the environmental impacts of energy use must be kept to levels commensurate with national policy objectives for public health and environmental quality. The committee expects that environmental requirements will become increasingly stringent over time, which will make the continued use of low-cost, but more polluting technologies, more difficult. Although Vision 21 does not include carbon sequestration (storage), the viability of carbon management technologies at Vision 21 facilities will depend on the development and public acceptance of affordable carbon storage methods. The timing of the introduction of hydrogen production technologies and other Vision 21 options for carbon management will depend on the availability of sequestration technology, as well as on improved carbon separation and capture technologies.
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future The aggressive development of cleaner, more affordable technologies for using fossil fuels is critical, therefore, for preserving and reconciling U.S. economic and environmental goals. DOE's Vision 21 Program could play an integral role in facilitating and accelerating the key technology developments for preserving secure, relatively low-cost, and environmentally acceptable supplies of electricity, transportation fuels, and chemical feedstocks in the post-2015 time frame. ACHIEVING VISION 21 PROGRAM GOALS DOE has selected very ambitious goals for the Vision 21 Program. The combination of very high thermal efficiency, near-zero emissions of pollutants, and competitive costs is unprecedented for power generation. However, if these goals can be achieved, Vision 21 technologies will offer the United States and the world methods of generating coal-fired power with significant advantages over current methods at the same or lower cost as natural gas-fired generation in areas where gas is available and at low-cost in areas where natural gas is relatively expensive. Achieving these goals will not be easy, however. The Vision 21 Program plan encompasses a broad range of technology options and will require a well defined process for setting priorities and downselecting technologies based on how well they are progressing towards meeting their targets. The Vision 21 Program should be a unique area of focus in OFE with a clearly defined budget; the program should include R&D on both long-term evolutionary and near-term revolutionary changes. Success will require breakthroughs in a number of technologies in terms of both cost and technical performance. For example, significant improvements will be required in the relatively mature field of coal gasification to reduce costs by a factor of about two. Innovative approaches will have to developed to several gasification subprocesses to achieve the required cost reductions. Hybrid combinations of gas turbines and high-temperature fuel cells will be required to achieve the Vision 21 efficiency goals; initial tests of the first experimental units of this type are scheduled for 2000. Obviously, many years will be required to build up the infrastructure to deliver these components to the marketplace at competitive prices. One of the unique values of the Vision 21 Program is that as components, subsystems, and systems are tested and perfected, they will become available commercially. Many of these products are likely to be commercially attractive in specific market niches before the ultimate Vision 21 goals have been met. Strategies for an Uncertain Future The Vision 21 Program should promote public and private sector R&D for the purpose of supporting the continued availability of cost-competitive options
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future for a diverse mix of fossil fuels. A key element of this R&D should be to eliminate the environmental barriers associated with producing electricity, transportation fuels, and chemical feedstocks from fossil fuels, including natural gas, petroleum, and coal. The opportunities for the construction of Vision 21 plants are projected to be strong throughout the world, especially in developing countries, such as China. The committee believes that the concept of a multipurpose, coal-based facility that produces both electric power and fuels and chemicals will not only provide energy but will also take advantage of profitable markets for the hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and excess steam produced in the facility. Current technology for producing fuels and chemicals from coal is not only less economical than using natural gas, but also produces at least twice as much carbon dioxide per unit of product as competing technologies based on natural gas. Moreover, the benefits expected from the coproduction of fuels or chemicals are limited, while the complexity of the production facility is significantly increased. However, in anticipation of coproduction as a viable option, the committee recommends that long range R&D funded by the Vision 21 Program be focused on achieving breakthrough improvements in the technology for converting mixtures of carbon monoxide and hydrogen to more valuable products. If this R&D is successful, and as the price of natural gas increases significantly above current levels, coproduction plants could be economically viable. At the present time, the outlook for future energy supplies and conversion technologies indicates a growing reliance on natural gas as the economic fuel of choice for new electric power generation. In the United States, the net summer electricity generating capacity between 2000 and 2020 is projected to increase by 217 GW (EIA, 1999). DOE/Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s Annual Energy Outlook projects that the use of natural gas will increase from 10 percent (308 billion kWh) of the total power generated in 1998 to 30 percent (1,350 billion kWh) in 2020. At the same time, even though the number of gigawatt-hours of coal-based electric generation will increase, the percentage of coal-based generation will decrease from 58 percent (1,840 billion kWh) in 1998 to 52 percent (2,300 billion kWh) in 2020 (EIA, 1999). These projections are based on continued availability of relatively low-cost abundant supplies of natural gas. Nevertheless, the future is inherently uncertain, and long-term projections of future price trends and fuel mixes could be entirely wrong. The role of coal, for example, could decline rapidly if future environmental policies require sizeable reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide from U.S. power plants. In fact, the greatest uncertainty affecting the maintenance of a diverse, low-cost energy supply is the requirement for carbon management in response to concerns about global climate change. One premise of the committee's deliberations is that some form of carbon management will be included in future environmental policy measures. The timing and stringency of such policies will substantially affect the
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future benefits of fuel diversity. Therefore, the Vision 21 Program must be able to accommodate a range of scenarios. For all of these reasons, carbon management is a critical program objective of Vision 21. The design of the program distinguishes in-plant carbon management (improvements in efficiency, carbon capture, and separation technologies) from beyond-plant carbon management (the transport and sequestration of separated carbon). The program boundary of Vision 21 clearly excludes beyond-plant carbon management, but the boundary for in-plant carbon management is ambiguous. Essentially, ''revolutionary" carbon-dioxide capture and sequestration are included, but "evolutionary" carbon-dioxide capture and sequestration are not. In addition, advanced fossil-fuel technologies, especially coal-based technologies, must be able to meet increasingly stringent environmental requirements for "criteria" pollutants (sulfur dioxide [SO2], oxides of nitrogen [NOx], particulates, toxic air pollutants) and still remain cost-competitive with other fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Coordination of the U.S. Department of Energy's Research and Development Activities A distinguishing feature of advanced technologies for 2015 and beyond is that they will provide the option for using coal and other fossil fuels in a carbon-constrained world. This will require that substantial improvements be made to eliminate nearly all emissions of air pollutants, liquid wastes, and solid wastes. To succeed in the marketplace, Vision 21 technologies must also be cost competitive with other long-term options for producing electricity, transportation fuels, and chemicals. This will require that some R&D be specifically focused on commercializing and deploying Vision 21 technologies in both international and domestic markets. In the near term, however, the most significant opportunities for commercializing advanced energy technologies will be for technologies developed in OFE's R&D programs in advanced combustion systems and other near-term (2000–2015) technologies, which the committee believes should be continued outside the Vision 21 Program. DOE activities focused on commercialization should initially be concentrated on near-term technologies outside the Vision 21 program. Commercialization will require strong industrial participation, as well as the involvement of other government agencies and programs (especially international programs), both within and outside of DOE. Over time, activities related to the deployment and commercialization of advanced near-term technologies can be shifted toward technologies developed in the Vision 21 Program. Meeting the technical challenges of Vision 21 will require a continual stream of new ideas and innovations, as well as fundamental understanding of materials
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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future and processes that can only come from a sustained program of basic science and engineering. DOE's Office of Science already supports such a program, as does OFE's Advanced Research and Technology Development Program (AR&TD). The results of DOE's basic research programs can be directed toward the needs of Vision 21 (e.g., in materials and other areas) so new developments can be incorporated into Vision 21 concepts as they occur. Over time, Vision 21 can become the primary focus of OFE's program in coal and power systems. REFERENCES DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 1999a. Who We Are. Available on line at: http://www.fetc.doe.gov/welcome/whoweare.htm DOE. 1999b. Vision 21 Program Plan: Clean Energy Plants for the 21st Century. Morgantown, W.V.: Federal Energy Technology Center. EIA (Energy Information Administration). 1999. Annual Energy Outlook 1999. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy. PCAST (President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology). 1997. Federal Energy Research and Development for the Twenty-First Century. Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President. PCAST. 1999. Powerful Partnerships: The Federal Role in International Cooperation on Energy Innovation. Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President.
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