Pilot Test of Pressurized Fluidized Bed Combustion Carbon Capture Technology Kicks Off in Canada

In a major development for a novel carbon capture technology, developers are preparing to commission a 1-MWt oxy-fired pressurized fluidized bed combustion (oxy-PFBC) pilot test facility in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its Canadian counterpart, Natural Resources Canada, commemorated the facility’s construction and commissioning in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 18 though the facility has yet to be completed. The facility is largely built, developers told POWER, but some piping and integration remains. The plant will officially be commissioned this November, and tests will begin in December.

The integrated pilot-scale system will test, validate, and address technology gaps in an advanced process to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants, the DOE said in a statement.

Different set ups of the oxy-pressurized fluidized bed combustion carbon capture facility in Ottawa, Canada

Different perspectives of the oxy-pressurized fluidized bed combustion carbon capture facility in Ottawa, Canada Courtesy: GTI

Oxy-PFBC is based on the oxy-fuel combustion process, which essentially uses pure oxygen instead of air to burn fuel and produces heat that generates electricity. In the oxy-PFBC process, pressurized combustion in oxygen and recycling of CO2 gas eliminates the presence of nitrogen and other constituents of air, minimizing the generation of pollutants, while enabling more economical CO2 capture.

Oxy-PFBC Layout. Source: DOE

Oxy-PFBC Layout. Source: DOE

“The [oxy-PFBC] process improves the efficiency of this process by concentrating the CO2 produced prior to combustion of fuel in the turbine, thereby greatly reducing the cost of capturing the CO2. The captured CO2 can then be stored or used beneficially to develop other products, including feedstock and chemicals,” the DOE explained.

The initiative is spearheaded by research group Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a company that recently acquired technology firm Aerojet Rocketdyne. Since completion of a feasibility study, researchers have focused efforts on component development and pilot-plant testing, GTI said. The group is also designing, fabricating, and testing a supercritical CO2 power cycle heat exchanger for the oxy-PFBC pilot plant to achieve even greater power cycle efficiencies.

The organization is working in collaboration with CanmetENERGY-Ottawa, Linde, the Electric Power Research Institute, General Electric, and Penn State University. It has the backing of the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Canadian Clean Power Coalition, and Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environment Solutions. The project received $13 million under the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s advanced combustion program.

The project is part of a collaboration between the U.S. and Canada on clean energy technologies, and it reflects the two countries commitment to Mission Innovation, which is the landmark commitment by 20 world leaders during the COP21 conference in Paris last December. The commitment obligates participating countries to accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation by doubling clean energy research and development funding over the next five years.


Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)