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Life cycle energy-economic-CO2 emissions evaluation of biomass/coal, with and without CO2 capture and storage, in a pulverized fuel combustion power plant in the United Kingdom

Yi, Qun, Zhao, Yingjie, Huang, Yi, Wei, Guoqiang, Hao, Yanhong, Feng, Jie, Mohamed, Usama, Pourkashanian, Mohamed, Nimmo, William, Li, Wenying
Applied energy 2018 v.225 pp. 258-272
biomass, capital, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, coal, decision making, electricity, electricity generation, feedstocks, fuel combustion, greenhouse gas emissions, operating costs, plant growth, power generation, power plants, supply chain, wood products, United Kingdom
Biomass to power generation is an alternative for fossil fuel to power pathways and plays a significant role in electricity supply and CO2 emissions reduction of the United Kingdom (UK). Additionally, the UK government plans to phase out coal to power in the near future (2025), implying that all coal power plants in the future must be deployed with CO2 capture and storage (CCS). In this study, life cycle evaluation of energy use, CO2 emissions and cost requirements for pulverized fuel combustion power plants using white wood pellets and bituminous coal, a typical coal widely consumed in coal power station in the UK, as feedstocks, with and without (w/o) post-combustion CCS are investigated for deep understanding application and challenges of these technologies. The life cycle evaluation covers the whole power generation process including wood pellets/coal supply chain and electricity generation at the power plant. The analysis demonstrates that biomass or biomass/coal co-fired plants w/o CCS has no advantage in comparison to coal fired plant w/o CCS regarding the energy use due to the high energy consumption during the biomass supply chain process. From a life cycle viewpoint, CO2 released when combusting biomass will be consumed during plant growth, resulting in an approximate carbon neutral combustion process with additional CO2 emissions from the supply chain process. The biggest handicap for biomass power plants is the high operational cost of the feedstock supply chain process, with the additional high capital cost of the carbon capture plant, if considered. These results are a comprehensive guide which can help decision makers perform suitable measures to push forward development and application of coal/biomass power generation with CCS.