How It Works
The ITC will be built at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station, located seven miles north of Gillette, Wyoming. Researchers at the ITC will have access to flue gas otherwise released from the plant, a combination of ambient air, water vapor and carbon dioxide.
A steel duct will connect the plants gas flue to the ITC. Technology positioned inside the plants’ exhaust flue will allow researchers to divert flue gas to their testing facility when and as needed, where carbon dioxide molecules can be pulled and utilized.
Wyoming provides about 40% of America’s coal through the top 10 producing mines located in the Powder River Basin. Coal in Wyoming is uncovered and removed by large machines in a process called surface mining. Once the coal has been mined, it’s processed in a preparation plant where it’s washed and cleaned to remove contaminants like rocks, ash and sulfur. After the coal is processed, it is cleaned again and transported by trucks and trains.
Nearly all of the coal mined in the Powder River Basin is transported via train. Processed coal is unloaded into train cars through an automated shoot. Most coal trains have between 100 to 125 cars. Loaded cars are sprayed with a surfactant or “topper” to mitigate coal dust during transportation.
At coal-fired power plants, water is turned into steam which drives generators to produce electricity. As coal burns, it first goes through a vacuum, which sometimes uses static electricity, to remove particles. It then goes through several “scrubbers” that remove sulfur dioxide (S2O) and nitrous oxide (NO2). After the scrubbers, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor comes out of the gas flue.
The flue gas will be delivered to the ITC via a carbon steel duct. A guillotine damper will be installed into the carbon steel tie-in duct, giving researchers the ability to open and close the duct when they need flue gas. The damper will pull the flue gas after removal of S2O and NO2, opening it and closing it as needed for testing. The damper was installed in March 2016 when the power plant was scheduled for a routine outage.
The ITC will feature six demonstration sites, five small sites and one large site. Each test center will be provided with flue gas, power, and service water from the Dry Fork Station. The test centers will have access to varying levels of power based on their specific project needs.