Support Existing Fleet of Coal-Fired Power Plants

This task focuses on developing the process equipment models, flowsheets, and solution methodologies required for modeling and optimizing coal-fired power plants. The models and tools will be demonstrated via partnerships with existing facilities where they will be deployed to address ongoing challenges such as reducing the minimum operating load, sustainably improving ramp rates, extending plant life, satisfying emission limits, and maximizing efficiency at base and partial loads.

Next Generation Power Plants

While efforts are underway within IDAES to improve the flexibility and efficiency of the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants, there is also a need to look at the next-generation of fossil-based energy systems that are flexible, innovative, resilient, small and transformative (FIRST). This task will focus on the design and optimization of energy systems that will satisfy the Coal FIRST objectives; plants that will have a small footprint and potentially be coupled with energy storage and transformational carbon capture technologies.

Optimizing the Entire Power Generation System

Any new process designs must be competitive in the larger electric grid markets. The objective is to develop optimization models to identify the necessary characteristics in new generation systems and transmission infrastructures required to meet the projected demand for electricity over the next few decades. The modeling framework, which is based on MILP, takes the viewpoint of a central planning entity whose goal is to identify the type, location, and capacity of future power generation technologies (e.g., coal, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydropower) and transmission infrastructure that can meet the projected electricity demand while minimizing the amortized capital investment of all new generating units and transmission lines, the operating and maintenance costs of both new and existing units, and suitable environmental costs (e.g., carbon cost, and penalty for not meeting the minimum renewable energy source quota). To be able to capture the variability of generation by renewable source units and assure that the load demand is met at any time, detailed operational constraints are also included. This multi-scale formulation involves long-term investment plans while considering unit commitment decisions at multiple levels. To make the model tractable and able to be solved in a reasonable amount of time, timescale and clustering approaches are used, and complemented with special multi-scale decomposition techniques to address the temporal and spatial scales of the problem.