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Power Plants With In The Eu?

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#1 bob789


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Posted 22 December 2010 - 06:43 PM


I was looking through previous previous threads on power generation and I was interested in what other engineer views are on the current subject with respect to the EU. In particular the possible implementation of biomass plants over traditional power plants within the UK with respect to the EU.

I was just interested in what people thought is going to be the future of power generation in EU until 2020 and beyond, whilst keeping in mind CO2 reductions targets set out by EU.This is an extremely interesting area at the moment, and the technologies looking to be developed depend heavily on the resource availability of coal, natural gas and biomass.

The way I currently see the UK market is that, conventional supercritical coal power plants are finishing off due to issue of carbon emissions and due to EU targets being set for renewable power generation by 2020. The choice of technology chosen is heavily dependant on resource availability which is major topic of sustainable development. With the social implication associated with coal mining increasing, and With approximately 2/3 of the world's availablecoal supplies present in India, USA and China, long term prospects of coal usein the UK could be stretched.
However the issue that we have is that we can't go straight to large biomass combustion plants as there has not been enough energy crops developed or present within the UK to produce large combustion plants e.g. short rotation coppice, wood. It just hasn't developed enough over the last 5-10 years as was the aim of the uk goverment, through subsidies and introducing ROCs. The way i see it is co-firing plants will take over in the mean time (Drax) whilst developments are made of natural gas plants such as combined cycle gas turbines which are much more co2 efficient over coal. It will enable us to achieve the energy demands be through obtaining a lower carbon source. If new coal power plants are to be developed in the EU they will have to have CCS installed as stated in the LCPD. The CCS technology is not proven and will not be properly in place till after 2020, by then the UK emissions may be worse and may not allow ccs and tighter legislations may have to be put in place.

With co-firing and natural gas plants there is the potentional of CHP attached however, only on a small scale in the UK because at the moment we don't take advantage of the thermal heat from power plants, which we need to do. But the UK life style of high energy demand does not allow direct heating from CHP to the scale Scandinavian countries carry out, however there is the potential of district heating on process plants, in particular along side co-firing technology.

Coal gasification is much more efficient in terms of emissions, how ever for it to have a presence in the Uk, surely CHP will have to be a part of it? With potentially nearly 200 years of worth of NG supply in the world (sorry if wrong, just guessing), surly it has a much more sustainable future? With the possibility of Coal bed methane, potential gas reserves could be greater?

I am unsure as to more pros and cons of coal gasification ? I would be interested to know what peoples view are on the possible different technologies that could be implemented, in particular the the role of natural gas technologies such as combined cycle gas turbines and the development of biomass plants in UK and the EU. Thanks.

Edited by bob789, 22 December 2010 - 06:48 PM.

#2 micdmaloney


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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:47 AM

I have a few comments with regards to your post.
There are currently no supercritical coal plants in the UK. The existing sub-critical fleet is not "finishing off" due to carbon emissions or renewable EU targets - in fact they are currently supplying around 40% of the UK electricity demand (our recent cold weather has been accompanied by generally low levels of wind so renewable wind generation has contributed little during an extended period of higher than normal demand). The existing sub-critical fleet is long-in-the-tooth and will not be able to continue this contribution indefinitely.
CHP applications can, and are, used with coal as the fuel - this is not an approach which is limited to gas or co-firing.
Coal gasification is one potential method for the generation of electricity for end users, but it is not the only one. Your statement regarding its efficiency in terms of emissions is therefore confusing. Electricity from coal could have its "carbon intensity" substantially reduced by oxyfuel combustion or post-combustion carbon dioxide capture - two areas in which I have some experience.
With regards to sustainability, I think that by definition all fossil fuels (natural gas, coal and oil) are not sustainable. As to reserves of fossil fuels, information at the following address: http://www.worldcoal...on09(15_09_2010).pdf
would seem to indicate that coal reserves will substantially outlast oil and gas (at current consumption levels).
In terms of forecasting how the UK energy portfolio will change, that's more difficult to judge. I think natural gas plants will see some favour as the general public perceives them as "cleaner" than coal, and the financial justification can appear favourable, particularly in the short term. It is my personal opinion that the UK should pursue a balanced portfolio of energy generation in the short term (to 2020) including new, higher efficiency coal plant, gas plant and new nuclear plant in order to maintain a reliable, affordable mix of generation in the short term while we move towards an increasing use of renewable technologies for the longer term - eventually moving away entirely from fossil fuels.
I hope some of this information/opinion has been useful.

Best regards,

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