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RECOGNISING OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS IN ENERGY

The Global Energy Prize annually honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.

Clean generation based on the Allam Cycle: the world's first zero-emission thermal power plant

On April 9, within the Zero day of the VIII Global Energy Prize Summit, the 2012 Global Energy Prize laureate, Member of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, Technical Director of Net Power LLC Rodney Allam told the students of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, about the world's first TPP, which operates on the basis of a special cycle named in his honor. The technology allows to generate inexpensive and clean energy from hydrocarbon fuels without harmful emissions into the environment.

The innovation of the Global Energy Prize laureate allows not only to restrain climate change, which is the most important goal of the Paris Climate Agreement, but also contributes to sustainable energy development. By capturing all the carbon dioxide produced by natural combustion, the technology also provides electricity at the same low cost as other modern gas turbines – about cents per 1kW*h.

Recall that Rodney orld'sorld'sAllam was engaged in the problems of reducing CO2, NOx and SOx emissions at coal-fired power plants for many years and developed a technology for capturing waste carbon dioxide, which allows not to emit it into the atmosphere, but to liquefy and pump it underground to a depth of about 1 km through wells remaining after the development of oil fields. However, it turned out that this technology increases the cost of electricity by more than 60%, making the operation of thermal power plants become economically unprofitable.

It became clear to the inventor that it was necessary to come up with a way not only to utilize the carbon dioxide formed during fuel combustion, but also to include it in the thermodynamic cycle in some way. The solution is called the Allam Cycle. The working body in it is practically pure carbon dioxide released during fuel combustion in a supercritical state, entering the turbine at a temperature of up to 1200 °C and a pressure of more than 300 atm. After passing through the turbine and the heat exchanger, it returns to the combustion chamber. Using CO2 instead of steam, Allam was able to avoid inefficient phase transitions. The heat remains inside the system, which reduces the amount of fuel needed to maintain a high operating temperature.

The scientist explained that an important difference between the Allam Cycle and traditional schemes is the oxygen combustion of fuel. To do this, an air separation unit is installed at the entrance of the system, which emits pure oxygen from the air, in which the combustion of fossil fuels - gasified coal or natural gas-takes place.

Currently in La Porte, Texas, USA, there is a construction of a power plant with an electric capacity of 50 MW, which will demonstrate the work of the latest energy system based on oxygen and natural gas with zero emissions into the atmosphere, using the technology of the Allam Cycle.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of Helmholtz Research Universities and, in addition to the tasks of the State University, carries out major research on a national scale. Carrying out three main tasks - research, higher education and innovation - about 9300 specialists cooperate in a wide range of disciplines in the field of natural and engineering sciences, economics, humanities and social sciences. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology holds a leading position in the best rankings.

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