Advanced science.  Applied technology.


SwRI receives $1.1 million to improve oxy-combustion technology

Jan. 9, 2018 — Southwest Research Institute has been awarded a $1.1 million contract by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop, build and test a particle separator for use in a flameless pressurized oxy-combustion cycle. The three-year project will begin in January 2018.

To achieve flameless pressurized oxy-combustion in coal-fired plants, coal is mixed with water and injected into a combustor at elevated pressure. The hot gases boil water and generate steam to move a turbine and produce power. Some of the gases are subsequently looped back into the combustor for a more complete combustion environment that produces even more power. The remaining gases flow through a turbo-expander, a device that extracts additional power from a portion of these gases. To protect the turbo-expander from erosion, a separator is needed to remove harmful particulates from the exiting gases.

“Particulate in gas streams causes erosion in machinery. Combining these particulates with a potentially corrosive gas can cause corrosion-erosion, which can destroy machinery within months,” said Joshua Schmitt, a research engineer in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division who will lead the project. “The particle separator we are designing will be unique in that it will operate at high temperatures and pressures with minimal pressure lost.”

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