Coal energy conversion integrated with deep saline aquifer carbon storage via combustion in supercritical water

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Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies aim to allow the continued use of fossil fuels by outputting carbon in a form other than atmospheric CO2. Several types of geologic reservoirs are considered as alternatives; of these, deep saline aquifers have the largest potential storage capacity worldwide. Unfortunately, neat CO2 injected into an aquifer is less dense than the native brine. The resulting buoyancy presents a potential for leakage from the storage formation, and, ultimately, to the atmosphere. This work describes a method for using coal to produce electricity that creates a pre-equilibrated brine/CO2 solution for injection into a saline aquifer. Such solutions are more dense than the original brine, and present no potential for buoyancy-driven leakage. A concept is introduced in which coal is oxidized in high-pressure, high-temperature water drawn from a saline aquifer in a process known as supercritical water oxidation (SCWO). Combustion in supercritical water and subsequent aquifer storage of all coal-derived fluid effluent removes the need for CO2 separation and compression steps common in other coal-fired designs with CCS. The properties of supercritical water (T > 647 K, P > 221 bar) are described that make it a suitable combustion medium---in contrast to water at ambient conditions. A conceptual plant is developed that includes systems to manage brine and coal (a solid, complex fuel). The system uses a heat engine for work extraction from hot combustion products, and so may be called a supercritical water oxidation, indirectly-fired combined cycle, or SCWO/IFCC. Next, a thermodynamic model is developed to evaluate the performance of this plant and compare it to other coal-fired designs with CCS. Next, a laboratory-scale combustor, constructed to study flames in supercritical water, is described. This apparatus follows from previous supercritical water reactors that were built to study the destruction of hazardous wastes, but is targeted toward the development of a combustor suitable for use in a power plant. Challenges encountered operating systems that are simultaneously high-pressure and high-temperature are discussed, including the use of several types of metal seals. Autoignition results from initial combustion experiments are presented and compared to previous work.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2011
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Heberle, John Russell
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Primary advisor Edwards, Christopher
Thesis advisor Edwards, Christopher
Thesis advisor Cappelli, Mark A. (Mark Antony)
Thesis advisor Mitchell, Reginald
Advisor Cappelli, Mark A. (Mark Antony)
Advisor Mitchell, Reginald


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility John Russell Heberle.
Note Submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2011.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2011 by John Russell Heberle
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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