Research Papers: Energy From Biomass

Technoeconomic Analysis of Microalgae Cofiring Process for Fossil Fuel-Fired Power Plants

[+] Author and Article Information
Jian Ma

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 4009, Las Vegas, NV 89154jian.ma@unlv.edu

Oliver Hemmers

Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 4009, Las Vegas, NV 89154oliver.hemmers@unlv.edu

J. Energy Resour. Technol 133(1), 011801 (Mar 29, 2011) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003729 History: Received July 16, 2010; Revised February 23, 2011; Published March 29, 2011; Online March 29, 2011

The concept of cofiring (algal biomass burned together with coal or natural gas in existing utility power boilers) includes the utilization of CO2 from power plant for algal biomass culture and oxycombustion of using oxygen generated by biomass to enhance the combustion efficiency. As it reduces CO2 emission by recycling it and uses less fossil fuel, there are concomitant benefits of reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The by-products (oxygen) of microalgal biomass can be mixed with air or recycled flue gas prior to combustion, which will have the benefits of lower nitrogen oxide concentration in flue gas, higher efficiency of combustion, and not too high temperature (avoided by available construction materials) resulting from coal combustion in pure oxygen. A technoeconomic analysis of microalgae cofiring process for fossil fuel-fired power plants is studied. A process with closed photobioreactor and artificial illumination is evaluated for microalgae cultivation, due to its simplicity with less influence from climate variations. The results from this process would contribute to further estimation of process performance and investment. Two case studies show that there are average savings about $0.264 million/MW/yr and $0.203 million/MW/yr for coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants, respectively. These cost savings are economically attractive and demonstrate the promise of microalgae technology for reducing GHG emission from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Reflection coefficient from air to water n1=1 (air), n2=1.33 (water), and θ is incident angle

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2

Reflection coefficient from air to polyethylene, n1=1 (air) and n2=1.51 (polyethylene)

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 3

Reflection coefficient from polyethylene to water, n1=1.51 (polyethylene) and n2=1.33 (water)



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