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Topic Title: White Rose CCS Project (formerly UK Oxy CCS Demonstration)
Topic Summary: What is a FEED study?
Created On: 02 January 2014 12:09 PM
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 02 January 2014 12:09 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drax

After The DRAX coal to biomass conversion announcement on 9th December DECC says this about the White Rose CCS Project.

"The Government has announced it intends to award a multi-million pound contract for detailed design and planning, known as a FEED study, to Capture Power Limited for the White Rose CCS Project, which includes the Yorkshire-Humber CCS Trunkline, a carbon dioxide (CO2) transportation and storage solution to be undertaken by National Grid Carbon Limited."

"The White Rose project involves Alstom, Drax Power and BOC who have formed "Capture Power Limited"; and National Grid.

The White Rose proposal is to build a new state-of-the-art 426MWe (gross) clean coal power plant with full carbon capture and storage, bringing clean electricity to over 630,000 homes and capturing approximately 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This will link into the planned development of a CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure which would have capacity for additional CCS projects in the area. In total the White Rose proposal represents potential investment in the region of c.£2bn and up to 2,000 jobs."


If on average (according to Ofgem) each household uses 4000 KWh per year in electricity, 630,000 homes will use 2560 GWh per year. 2560 GWh per year can be provided by a plant delivering net 288MWe

Therefore they are expecting the White Rose Plant to be at least 68% efficient. This is consistent with efficiency estimates given elsewhere concerning this particular technology, although those estimates did not include the energy costs of transporting and sequestrating the captured CO2 are not included (perhaps the White Rose CCS Project efficiency estimates don't either).

The 68% figure basically means that for every 2 power stations of a particular size, with the CCS technology added we will now need to build 3 to generate the same net power delivered to the grid. If the CCS technology doubles the price of a coal fired power station (a lower bound estimate), the overall capital outlay needed per kW of electrical generation capacity installed will more than triple [once proper allowance for the CO2 transport and sequestration is made].

Anyway back to the question in the title of this post:

What is a FEED study?

A Front End Engineering & Design (FEED) study in this particular case helps government assess the viability of a project and identify any areas of outstanding technical uncertainty. It apparently comes after the Conceptual Design or Feasibility Study stage.

My question is:

How can technological add-ons that are likely to more than triple the capital cost of building new coal fired power stations get past the Conceptual Design or Feasibility Study stage (even when limited to the short style back of a fag packet Conceptual Design studies)?

What is the point of an engineering degree, when large engineering firms choose to pimp out their highly trained and most gifted employees [at great expense to the public] to design stuff that is complete and utter garbage, and has no chance of ever working cost effectively?

Why don't students of politics and history work on fusion at any cost, ccs at any cost, Generation III nuclear at any cost, Off-shore wind farms at any cost etc? Why go to the expense of training up engineers at all any more!



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James Arathoon
 02 January 2014 03:39 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

Also the mass of coal burnt per kWh of electricity generated goes up by at least a third. Mining costs are up by a third per kWh. Transport costs go up by a third per kWh of electricity generated. Mass and volume of waste ash is up by a third per kWh.

If we say 1 tonne of unabated coal gives around 3 MWh of electricity, then a 33% efficiency 426MWe (gross) dirty good coal plant at 80% utilisation will use around 1 million tonnes of coal a year.

If the trace element thorium concentration in the coal is 1 micro mole per mole (1 ppm) in terms of thorium, then there is maximum of another 4 GW-years worth of nuclear energy obtainable from the 4 tonnes of thorium in the coal ash (and some more energy from the uranium it contains as well)

I now propose the new CCS&CRUTUNE process, please don't take this too seriously... [&CRUTUNE = and Carbon Reversion using Thorium and Uranium Nuclear Energy])

1) Burn the dirty good coal, with ash removal and gas flue desulphurization and also collect and store the CO2 at great expense
2) Process the coal ash to extract the thorium and uranium, plus any other elements that have value.
3) Insert Thorium and Uranium into a nuclear reactor and generate say 1 GW years worth of electricity from 25% of it per year, before the NDA attempts to prematurely add it to its waste inventory.
4) Use half of this energy to convert the stored CO2 back to carbon and then store this clean carbon under ground, and store the Generation IV nuclear fission waste for 300 years in a small corner of the NDA chairman's back garden.

http://www.nda.gov.uk/aboutus/people/henwood.cfm

(Obviously my plan fails if Stephen Henwood CBE hasn't got a back garden. In this case I doubt whether a quick solution will emerge because Stephen Henwood CBE himself, has now spent 5 years searching for suitable places in or under other people's back yards with out success)

Total electrical power produced = 1288 MWe
Total electrical power consumed = 638 MWe
New Net Power to the Grid = 650 MWe (a net 224MWe increase over running the dirty coal plant on its own)

Actually as you may have realised by now; what's the point of bothering with the new clean coal plant and the expensive CCS development? if all we need do is develop cheaper Generation IV nuclear energy plants and find other sources of Thorium and Uranium other than from new coal ash (e.g. old coal ash comes to mind).

If we develop cheaper and more cost effective Generation IV nuclear plants, so we don't have to resort to ridiculously expensive CCS in 20 years time, there seems very little reason either to build new Generation III nuclear plants, also at a ridiculously high future cost to consumers and businesses.

Indeed we may actually emit more CO2 in the next 20 years by building expensive Gen III nuclear stations, than if we didn't bother. Generating the heat and electricity to build the nuclear stations will require fossil fuels burnt here or abroad (enormous and unnecessarily large amounts of concrete, iron and steel etc)

Why not use those same fossil fuels resources (and CO2 emissions) to build more Gen IV nuclear plants more quickly from 2035 onwards? Especially since energy usage is going down in the UK at the moment because of rapidly increasing prices.


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James Arathoon
 02 January 2014 03:43 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

I definitely got my calculations wrong on the energy costs of regenerating CO2 to carbon, but you get my point...

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James Arathoon
 05 January 2014 10:19 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
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£2Bn for 426MW x 68% efficiency?

That sounds like a pretty bad deal. You can build an equivalent conventional gas powerstation for only £258M** So this CCS thing costs 8x as much per KW capacity - and that's before you consider the costs in extra fuel, transport etc.

eg. ** 732MW Coryton cost £470M in 2002 = £650M in today's money = 89p/W. So 426MW x 0.68 x 89p = £258M

Still, at least they're wasting our tax money here in the UK instead of adding it to the £Billions they send to India & China in 'foreign aid'.
 06 January 2014 01:25 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

Yes to get 426MWe out onto the grid using CCS you will have to build a plant the size of Coryton, 732 MWe (perhaps £650 million in today's money as you say).

Add on the £1 billion for CCS plant that gives

Coryton without CCS = £888 per KWe capital cost
Coryton with CCS = £2254 per KWe capital cost

2.5 time capital cost before paying for another plant to generate another 230 MW or so to make for the CCS losses.

Fuel costs are the same with unsubsidised income market price electricity sales dropping at least 30%.

The mad thing is that consumers will have to pay subsidies at least 3 times over. They will have to pay the subsidies on the electricity they use, they will have to pay the subsidies on the electricity the energy intensive industries use, and they will have to pay the subsidies on electricity exported abroad at market rates. A triple whammy! In we include paying for all the subsidies on electricity central and local government uses, that comes out of taxation, it becomes a quadruple whammy!

Obviously energy intensive industry that has its power costs subsidised includes concrete and steel manufacturing to manufacture new nuclear and fossil+ccs generation. Therefore the consumer is subsidising the capital cost of building new electricity plants indirectly through their energy bills (by paying up to half the energy bills of energy intensive industries), before then having to subsidise their build, operation and maintenance costs directly.

If UK based energy intensive industries export parts abroad, energy bill payers are helping other countries to build their expensive new power stations as well!

According to DECC see here Chart 1, p2

The service sector represents 13% of final demand energy use in this country: 10% is by government, another 25% for education and health.

Around 30 percent of final energy consumption is domestic. Tax payers are paying for at least another 4 or 5% of final energy consumption through taxation. Therefore the triple whammy that hits the public sector, is immediately reflected back onto taxpayers!

You don't have to be a genius to realise that taxes are going to have to go up to pay the public sector share of energy subsidies.

This becomes a Double Decker Triple Whammy for us all!

In answer to the question "What is a [CCS] FEED study?"

A White Rose doesn't come to mind, but the "Little Shop of Horrors" film comes to mind where the nerdy florist raises a carnivorous plant and the song "Feed Me Seymore" does...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7SkrYF8lCU




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James Arathoon
 06 January 2014 09:17 PM
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fabriziosibilla

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Joined: 05 January 2014

Interesting discussion.
Technically, in a world where energy is "too cheap to meter" everything can be done from CO2 even captured from the air.
Link removed/maga...4/104-out-of-thin-air

In a world that can produce safe excesses of energy via nuclear or geothermal technologies, the CO2 from cement, metal and fermentation processes can be captured and converted to CH4 or CH3OH as fuel for NGVs or ICE cars

I think that is reasonable to invest in research in CCS technology, at least to open new technical pathways that can be exploited by other technologies. The thing is than the amount of money invested in R&D should be "reasonable" and generate also as spillover jobs.
 06 January 2014 11:26 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

But is it "reasonable" to spend £2Bn pumping a harmless plant-fertilising gas underground? Bearing in mind the amount of CO2 stored will be negligible compared to the annual *increase* in Chinese and Indian CO2 emissions. And bearing in mind there's been no global warming for 17 years now, despite a third of all CO2 ever emitted by man having been emitted over that period.

That £2Bn could be used to *double* the UK Medical Research Council spending for 4 years. I think I'd rather have a cure for cancer than a £2Bn hole in the ground and a snakeoil salesman's promise that it'll make the weather 0.000001°C colder long after I'm dead.
 06 January 2014 11:59 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

fabriziosibilla,

The trouble is plants and trees have already got the "capturing CO2 from air" function fairly well refined, after millions of years of evolution. Therefore it might be easier to find ways of growing plants in desert green houses (to limit water loss) than to build artificial working replicas of plants or trees.

Planting and harvesting techniques would need to be automated and made more productive, so we could all spend a higher proportion of our lives doing and thinking about what we like best. I think it would be easier to design automated planting and harvesting systems than to build and design artificial trees and plants that were reliable with low maintenance costs.


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James Arathoon
 07 January 2014 12:02 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

In trying to argue this all out my aim is to give more clever engineers the space to work on what they actually think is the best route forward (after having extensively argued the pros and cons out, tooth and nail, with other engineers, including Ipayyoursalary).

I think good and confident engineers "should just say no" when being asked to work on ridiculous nonsense by amoral managers hooked on never ending energy subsidies, stolen straight out of consumers wallets. This route (of listening to incumbent junkies and their political friends) will only get us ever higher energy prices, lots more excess winter deaths and next to no reduction in global carbon emissions to show for all the pain and misery dished out to the poorest third of society. Poor deal all round I'm afraid!

I think this might be the start of my Engineers "just say no" campaign. There are plenty of jobs for good engineers so "just say no" when your managers have turned into full-blown subsidy junkies, without any thought to rehab and staying clean.


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James Arathoon
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