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ASCENT Report Summary

Project ID: 608512
Funded under: FP7-ENERGY
Country: Italy

Periodic Report Summary 2 - ASCENT (ASCENT - Advanced Solid Cycles with Efficient Novel Technologies)

Project Context and Objectives:
ASCENT will provide a robust proof-of-concept of three related high temperature processes.
In the first concept, Ca-Cu, a Calcium-Copper looping cycle matches two endothermic-exothermic reaction pairs in the same equipment. In the second concept, CSHIFT (Carbonated Shift), a highly innovative fluidized bed reactor system is used to match the heat requirements of reaction and regeneration of temperature carbon dioxide acceptor materials with pressure swing technology. In the third concept, SER, a Nickel-Calcium dual fluidized bed looping cycle is used to generate a hydrogen-rich fuel to be used in a power cycle.
The three main technologies will be demonstrated at the prototype scale in the laboratories of IFE, TU/e, and Imperial College of London.
The whole project is composed of the following eight work packages: the assessment of technologies and benchmarking consists of WP1 (Performance criteria and benchmarking), the Joint R&D activity consists of WP2 (Combined Ca-Cu Chemical Loop: process development), WP3 (Fast Sorbent mediated water-gas shift) and WP4 (SER looping cycle). Cross-cutting activities consist of WP5 (Safety and sustainability impact assessment), WP6 (Dissemination) and WP7 (Exploitation) and WP8 (Management).
The objectives per each single WP for the current reporting period are below summarized:
Performance criteria and benchmarking (WP1) - One of the main objectives of the current review is to complete the preliminary economic evaluation along with the identification of the critical components. Efficiency, CO2 emissions, emission of other contaminants and consumption of other consumables are used as inputs of the LCA analysis carried out in WP5.

Combined Ca-Cu Chemical loop: process developmen (WP2)
• Complete the selection of CaO based material, CuO based material, combined material and catalyst testing;
• Develop particle models into a reactor model for dynamically operated packed beds to be able to account for particle behaviour on the performance of the reactors;
• Tune the model with the experimental data in order to capture the most important phenomena occurring during the Ca/Cu cycle;
• Produce larger batches of combined material and start experimental runs with the three proof-of-concept reactors at TU/e.

Fast Sorbent mediated water-gas shift (WP3)
• The study of long-term stability during multicycle testing of the two chosen hydrotalcite based sorbents aimed for the Carbonated Shift developed during the first period.
• The analysis of sorption kinetics and capacity at short residence times in a pressurised fluidised bed reactor operated at elevated pressures.
• The influence of H2S an operation under low steam to CO ratios on the performance of the chosen hydrotalcite sorbents.

SER looping cycle (WP4)
• Selection of one promising material among the materials synthesised during the first review period;
• Developing particle and reactor models for detailed understanding of the material functions;
• Validation of material performances through an experimental proof of concept.

Safety and sustainability impact assessment (WP5)
• To calculate the environmental impacts over the life cycle of defined reference power plant technologies generating electricity from coal (IGCC) or natural gas (NGCC);
• To calculate the environmental impacts over the life cycle of power plant technologies equipped with developed in the ASCENT project;
• To compare the ASCENT technologies with the conventional reference technologies, with or without carbon capture.

Dissemination (WP6)
The WP6 activities during the current second review period aim to put in practice the project dissemination plan agreed during the first review period. The objectives of dissemination plan are as follows
• To deliver the EU-Australian workshop in order to share the latest main results of ASCENT with the other current EU projects on the CCS;
• To deliver seminars in Australia regarding the main results achieved in the project;
• To update and populate the website of the project with the latest communication, newsletters and scientific achievements.

Exploitation of the developed sorbent technologies (WP7)
To update the business strategy by reviewing the competitive position of the technologies based on WP1 work and updating the technology market and implement SWOT analyses for the three ASCENT technologies.

Management (WP8)
The objective of the management in this second review period is focused not only to the technical meeting but also to put in practice the collaboration with the Australian partners, the management of general project meetings and the financial monitoring of the project.
Project Results:
The key achievements will be reported for each single work package.
Performance criteria and benchmarking (WP1)
The main achievement of the first reporting was the definition of fundamental assumptions and criteria for calculating the power plants. During the second period we mainly attained:
• The implementation mass and energy balance of ASCENT technologies for power plant and H2 production plants;
• The description of the regions of economic competitiveness of the novel Ascent processes for power plants and H2 production.

Combined Ca-Cu Chemical loop: process developmen (WP2)
The main achievements of the first reporting period WP was the conceptual design of the Ca-Cu process along with the synthesis of the functional materials for Ca-Cu looping process. As for the second reporting period we obtained:
• The selection of the Ca-based material to test at the proof-of-concept scale and the investigation of that material at particle scale were carried on
• The analysis of several CuO-based materials following different routes, with Cu contents between 56 to 75%wt., supported on Al2O3.
• Experimental information of catalyst activity of selected Ni based material with regards to the effect of space velocity and multiple cycles.
• Completion of models formulation and validation of reactor models with experimental results from a fixed-bed reactor.

Fast Sorbent mediated water-gas shift (WP3)
The main results in the first period were testing and characterisation of potassium promoted Mg-Al containing HTC sorbents in a pressurized packed bed reactor. During the second period we gained information on CO2 uptake with regards to the
• Multi-cycle performance of the selected materials: the sorbents have been tested in a fixed bed reactor for 146 and 492 adsorption-desorption cycles at various conditions.
• Carbonation kinetics and sorption capacities of mid-temperature CO2 sorbents over short time by means of a Proof-of-Concept in pressurised fluidised Bed Reactor.

SER looping cycle (WP4)
The main achievements in the first review report was the definition of performance criteria of the combined sorbent-catalyst material and process conditions with the description of the relevant SER process conditions for both the reformer and regenerator reactor. During the second reporting period the production of selected batches of both granulated HydroSORB sorbent and granulated CSCMs has been carried out to test the SER cycle using either a 2-particles system (sorbent and catalyst separated) or a 1-particle system (CSCM).

Safety and sustainability impact assessment (WP5)
The main results in the first review report were the selection of the perimeter of the environmental life cycle assessment with the collecting of the main data. The mid-term results in the second period showed:
• The small difference in impacts between the different technologies with CO2 capture;
• the positive effect of the intensification of the ASCENT technologies over the reference cases and the hot spots in terms of safety.

Dissemination (WP6)
The main achievements in the first review report were the implementation of the web site and the preparation of the project dissemination plan. The main results attained during the second review process are below summarised:
• Dissemination of the EU-Australian workshop;
• The website has been populated;
• Distinguished seminars in Australia were delivered by ASCENT partners;
• Increase of the website visibility.

Exploitation of the developed sorbent technologies (WP7)
During the first period a preliminary version of the exploitation and business plan and communications strategy has been issued in the report - D7.1 Target application and markets identified. The achievements in the second period are as follows:
• Production of Exploitation business plan for the ASCENT technologies;
• SWOT analyses for each of teh three ASCENT technologies.

Management (WP8)
The main results of the management during the first review period were the organisation of the kick-off meeting and general project meetings. During the second period the main results are as follows:
• Organisation and management of the EU-Australian workshop on the 14th November 2016 as a parallel session fitted in GHGT – 13 conference in Lausanne;
• Organisation and management of the general meetings in Oslo (May 2016) and Saragossa (February 2017);
• Financial monitoring.
Potential Impact:
Solid sorbents have the advantage over 20th century technologies, which are largely derived from oil industry processes, that they operate at high temperature avoiding the need to cool the CO2 in the flue gases and the sorbent release energy is completely repaid in the capture process. These two features suggest that these cycles will deliver higher efficiency low carbon electricity generation than the current range of technologies;

The ASCENT technologies are preparing to be in a very competitive position compared to the current leading technologies which have been benchmarked in ASCENT. The current state of development is given in the product descriptions and SWOT analyses.

The markets for ASCENT technologies are low carbon power generation from coal or natural gas and the decarbonisation of some high emissions industries, particularly those requiring hydrogen as a process component. These markets will still be small in 2020 but it is anticipated that they will grow rapidly thereafter. The entering into force of the Paris Agreement in 2016 will add to the speed of uptake. As the pressure comes on to power generators and industry to decarbonise the need for these processes will accelerate. In addition, there is an increasing interest in the use of hydrogen as a fuel for home heating and cooking. It is recognised that this may be the most efficient way of decarbonising heating and cooking. Hydrogen could also have a transformative effect on land based transport.

The cycles, though developed by ASCENT participants, will not be manufactured or installed by them. This is inevitably the province of major power station equipment suppliers. Hence while the participants can expect to achieve licencing income for the improved power cycles which they have developed it is unlikely that they will make any equipment manufacturing income. By contrast some of the participants are in the business of making sorbents and other catalytic chemicals and they will be able to add ASCENT products to their portfolios.
List of Websites:

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