Front-end engineering design work is under way on a project that would deploy carbon capture technology at a natural gas combined cycle power planty in Kentucky.

The project is funded primarily by a $5.8 million grant from the Department of Energy and involves Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utility’s Cane Run Generating Station in Louisville. 

The research also involves EPRI and the University of Kentucky (UK). Engineering, construction and project management company Bechtel and the University of Michigan are also participating.

The 640 MW generating unit, known as CR7, has been in operation since 2015. The current project entails a FEED study to evaluate the feasibility and rough cost to pilot and deploy the University of Kentucky-developed carbon-capture technology on CR7 to capture at least 95% of carbon dioxide from gases exiting the unit’s stacks.

The university’s research has focused on demonstrating breakthroughs in process intensification, two-stage solvent regeneration, heat integration, and advanced solvent development. It said that using this approach to lower both capital and operating expenses, the cost of electricity with CO2 capture may be reduced by 47% from the standard reference case of $67/tonne CO2, to $35/tonne CO2.

CR7 uses a Siemens SGT6- 5000Fee (efficiency enhanced) gas turbine technology, and was the first-of-its-kind deployment.

CR7 could be a model for other combined cycle power plants in the Midwest and Midsouth where geographical storage for carbon dioxide is limited. Results of the CR7 project are expected to yield information relevant to retrofitting a carbon-capture process on other NGCC units.

The study is expected to lay the groundwork for a full-scale, 10 MW to 20 MW carbon capture sequestration pilot unit at Cane Run.

The FEED study will take place through mid-2024 and involves pre-FEED research by the University of Kentucky focused on the project scope and design; the FEED itself conducted by Bechtel; commercial, environmental and economic assessments performed by EPRI; and a life-cycle assessment performed by the University of Michigan.

CR7 was built as a joint venture between PCL Industrial Construction Co. and Black & Veatch’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Overland Contracting.

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