US research and training organisation GTI has signed an agreement with Korea Electric Power Research Institute (KEPRI), a unit of Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO).

They will jointly research and develop oxygen-fired pressurised fluidised bed combustor (Oxy-PFBC) technology that promises power generation with substantially reduced emissions.

The GTI-KEPRI development agreement focuses on combustor work which can lead to power generation with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture that is more efficient and lower cost than current CO2 capture technologies. Such achievements could help reduce capital costs and minimise the plant footprint of power generators.

“The Oxy-PFBC process generates electricity and heat with near-zero emissions by economically capturing greenhouse gases created by combustion,” said Yong-Chae Bae, Vice President of KEPRI.

The Oxy-PFBC technology uses oxy-fuel combustion, a process that burns solid fuel using a pressurised mixture of oxygen and CO2, instead of air, to produce heat to generate electricity.

This improves process efficiency and results in exhaust gas that is primarily CO2 and water vapour, thereby reducing the cost of capturing the CO2 for later utilisation or permanent storage underground. It also eliminates particulate emissions, an attribute which is important for air quality in South Korea.

Oxy-combustion enables high-efficiency gas clean-up, while pressurisation shrinks the equipment size and the cost. The combustor is expected to be one-third the size of a traditional combustor and less than half the cost, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for a commercial-scale plant.

Michael Rutkowski, GTI Senior Vice President, Research and Technology Development, said, “KEPRI and GTI’s aspirations align, and we look forward to partnering on this initiative that will help to address the cost and complexity challenges of carbon capture.”

The partners are working to validate the process, mature the technology, and address technology gaps to progress the commercialization of more economical CO2 capture technologies.

KEPCO is one of the largest electricity providers in the world that has been driving Korea’s economic and industrial growth as a reliable supplier of electricity.