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Biomass co-firing options on the emission reduction and electricity generation costs in coal-fired power plants

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  • Basu, Prabir
  • Butler, James
  • Leon, Mathias A.

Abstract

Co-firing offers a near-term solution for reducing CO2 emissions from conventional fossil fuel power plants. Viable alternatives to long-term CO2 reduction technologies such as CO2 sequestration, oxy-firing and carbon loop combustion are being discussed, but all of them remain in the early to mid stages of development. Co-firing, on the other hand, is a well-proven technology and is in regular use though does not eliminate CO2 emissions entirely. An incremental gain in CO2 reduction can be achieved by immediate implementation of biomass co-firing in nearly all coal-fired power plants with minimum modifications and moderate investment, making co-firing a near-term solution for the greenhouse gas emission problem. If a majority of coal-fired boilers operating around the world adopt co-firing systems, the total reduction in CO2 emissions would be substantial. It is the most efficient means of power generation from biomass, and it thus offers CO2 avoidance cost lower than that for CO2 sequestration from existing power plants. The present analysis examines several co-firing options including a novel option external (indirect) firing using combustion or gasification in an existing coal or oil fired plant. Capital and operating costs of such external units are calculated to determine the return on investment. Two of these indirect co-firing options are analyzed along with the option of direct co-firing of biomass in pulverizing mills to compare their operational merits and cost advantages with the gasification option.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Prabir & Butler, James & Leon, Mathias A., 2011. "Biomass co-firing options on the emission reduction and electricity generation costs in coal-fired power plants," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 282-288.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:renene:v:36:y:2011:i:1:p:282-288
    DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2010.06.039
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