DOE’s early stage research for the Coal FIRST Initiative supports the development of 21st century electricity and hydrogen energy plants that have net-zero carbon emissions.
These plants will be fueled by coal, natural gas, biomass, and waste plastics and incorporate carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.
The Coal FIRST energy plant concepts will be capable of Flexible operation to meet the needs of the grid; use Innovative components that improve efficiency and achieve net-zero emissions, including the potential for net-negative (CO2) emissions when co-firing moderate amounts of biomass; provide Resilient power; be Small (50-350MWe) compared to today’s conventional utility-scale power plants; and Transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured.
Two of these projects are;
Gasification of Coal and Biomass: The Route to Net-Negative-Carbon Power and Hydrogen – Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA) and partners plan to perform a system integrated design study on an oxygen-blown gasification system coupled with the water-gas shift, pre-combustion CO2 capture, and pressure-swing adsorption working off a coal/biomass mix to yield high-purity hydrogen and a fuel off-gas that can generate power. There are several designs capable of producing 50 MW net from a flexible generator, over 8500 kg/hr. of hydrogen, and net-negative CO2 emissions. The plant will be hosted at one of two Nebraska Public Power District sites, where opportunities for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration have been investigated and where the need for low-carbon power and hydrogen is imminent. The principal biomass to be used is corn stover, prevalent in Nebraska where the plant will be located. It will be mixed with Powder River Basin coal, necessitating a gasifier that can use this feedstock and be flexible to allow other types.
Wabash Hydrogen Negative Emissions Technology Demonstration – Wabash Valley Resources, LLC (West Terre Haute, IN) in coordination with the Gas Technology Institute, seeks to complete design development, an Environmental Information Volume, an investment case and a system integrated design study to redevelop the existing Wabash Valley Resources coal gasification site in West Terre Haute, Indiana, into a Coal FIRST power plant for flexible fuel gasification‑based carbon-negative power and carbon-free hydrogen co-production.
Co‑firing an existing gasification facility with biomass (woody biomass and/or agricultural residue) will enable the project to achieve net-negative carbon emissions while producing hydrogen that can be used to generate electricity or be sold as a coproduct. CO2 will be captured and sequestered in nearby deep saline reservoirs that have already demonstrated suitability for storage, enabling the project to efficiently complete preparation for permanent CO2 sequestration.