In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, along with the National Energy Technology Laboratory, issued a request for proposals as part of its Coal FIRST initiative—a research and development program that aims to advance first-of-their-kind coal generation technologies able to adapt to the evolving electrical grid.
Barr submitted two concepts for the first phase of the project, and in 2019 was awarded a pre-front-end engineering design (pre-FEED) study for a hybrid gas-and-coal concept power-plant design. We teamed with Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction; Envergex, LLC; Microbeam Technologies, Inc.; MLJ Consulting; and the University of North Dakota’s Institute of Energy Studies to develop the plant concept, which combines a state-of-the-art, ultra-super-critical 250 MW coal-fired power plant with an 80 MW natural-gas-fired turbine and energy storage.
The plant design combines unique features to allow for rapid startup and load changes, including a combustion turbine and battery with an inherently fast startup and ramp-rate capability. When power demand is lower than the minimum load, surplus electricity will be transferred to the energy storage system, which will handle the initial ramp-up for morning or evening peak demand.
Some innovative aspects of Barr’s concept were the integration of a gas turbine and coal boiler; an amine-based post-carbon-capture system with steam plant integration; and a battery-energy-storage-system module.
Barr delivered the study findings in a preliminary engineering report that illustrated the advantages and effectiveness of the proposed system, the business case, and an approach for advancement through the identified technology gaps.