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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


BARIšIć, V. et al. CFB technology provides solutions for reducing CO2 emissions. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2009, vol.109, n.2, pp.107-119. ISSN 2411-9717.

The scheduled power cuts of early 2008 were a disturbing reminder that South Africa needs to expand its power-generating capacity. Low-grade and discard coals, of which South Africa has much, are a source of energy and amenable to combustion in circulating fluidized beds (CFBs). Foster Wheeler (FW) has a long ecord in developing this technology in boilers. The technology is flexible in burning a variety of fuels; low-grade, high-ash coals, good quality bituminous and anthracite coals, and biomass and waste fuels have all been used. CFB boilers are efficient, reliable and can be designed to meet tight emission standards. In recent years once-through supercritical (OTSC) CFB technology has been developed. It enables the next stage in CFB development to proceed to a medium-scale (500 MWe) utility in such projects as Łagisza, which runs at a net efficiency of nearly 44%. Scaling the technology up to 800 MWe with a net efficiency of >45% is planned to be commercial during 2009. CFB technology can reduce CO2 emissions in the repowering of coal-fired and greenfield power plants. It does so through greater efficiencies and by co-combusting coal with biomass. FW has also developed CFB technology for the gasification of biomass, as, for example, in a pressurized gasifier to produce syngas, which can be used for the production of biodiesel, thereby reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) can potentially cut CO2 emissions in the generation of power from fossil fuels in the short term, provided that it gains public acceptance, that the required regulatory framework is created, and that emission-trading mechanisms or other incentives provide a solid return on the major investments required. Oxyfuel combustion is an option in CCS; Foster Wheeler is adapting its CFB combustion technology for oxyfuel combustion to meet this challenge. It is developing Flexiburn ™, which enables a plant to be operated either with or without carbon capture. This paper describes the status of CFB technology in terms of boiler efficiency and fuel flexibility. It highlights the advantages of CFB technology for oxyfuel combustion, presents a development plan for Flexi-burn™, and discusses a pressurized gasifier for biodiesel applications.

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