• The preferred research partner approach

    Date posted:

    • Post Author

      Philip Sharman

      IFRF Director

As described by the new IFRF Director, Philip Sharman, in the last edition of Monday Night Mail, the move of IFRF to Sheffield in the UK is accompanied by a new modus operandi – to increase links with key combustion research & testing facilities in order to offer a better service to members.  Part of the business plan associated with the move to Sheffield involved IFRF having one or more ‘preferred research partners’, with appropriate facilities, who would work with IFRF on experimental activities.

Part of the ‘USP’ of the new host organisation for IFRF, the University of Sheffield (see previous edition of MNM), is that it is the lead partner in a collaborative activity called PACT.  PACT is a specialist not-for-profit national collaboration with facilities for research in advanced fossil-fuel energy, biomass, energy from waste, carbon capture, utilisation & storage (CCUS) and bioenergy CCUS (‘BECCS’).  The facilities bring together a range of integrated pilot-scale test rigs and on-line and laboratory analytical facilities for research, technology development, validation and benchmarking.

In addition to the University of Sheffield, the collaboration partners are Cranfield University, the Universities of Edinburgh and Nottingham, and Imperial College London.  The sponsors of PACT are the UK government (Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC).

The experimental facilities (located in Sheffield, Cranfield and Nottingham) comprise:

• 250kW air/oxyfuel pulverised fuel (biomass and/or coal) combustion plant able to operate in conventional air combustion or oxyfuel mode, including real and simulated flue gas recycling with controllable CO2, O2 compositions and trace gas and steam injection capability
• 150kW air/oxyfuel pulverised fuel combustion plant
• 300kW circulating fluidised bed (CFB) combustor/gasifier
• 750kW gas turbine burner with deposition probes
• 300kW grate combustor CHP energy system for biomass and waste
• Two 330kW (inlet) CHP gas turbines
• 50kW chemical looping facility
• A 1tCO2/day post-combustion carbon capture (PCC) plant using 100-250Nm3/h inlet gas and integrated to on-site combustion and synthetic gas facilities
• Gas mixing facility for modulation of real flue gases or generation of synthetic flue/industrial process gases such as steel, cement, refineries process gases
• CO2 transport flow rig
• State-of-the-art lab facilities for fuel and solvent analysis (including spectrometry and spectroscopy) as well as online analytical facilities: unique ICP-OES for simultaneous analysis of up to 50 metal species in flue/process gas; multi-point FTIR gas analysis; conventional combustion gas analysers, chemical solvent analysers, and fast real-time particle size analyser
• Transportable mini-lab for on-site, long-term capture media testing under real operating conditions
• Mobile DMS-500 for submicron particle (aerosol) measurements from stack
• Modular 800°C, 100bar flow reactor
• Milling equipment with powders analysis

These experimental facilities are complemented by leading process and integrated systems modelling/simulation capability, including model development and validation.

PACT will provide IFRF and its members with commercially neutral, collaborative and/or contract R&D services, with shared access to the facilities, bridging the gap between lab-scale R&D and industrial pilot-scale testing.

PACT is proposing to extend their core facilities near Sheffield to incorporate the existing experimental rigs and capabilities into an integrated smart energy system, with a range of renewable energy sources, energy storage and grid technologies, on a purpose-built site owned by the University.  This proposed future development would significantly enhance PACT’s capabilities in support of IFRF.

IFRF intends to develop other ‘preferred research partners’ over the coming months – partners that can offer a complementary range and scale of experimental facilities to those available with PACT, thus enabling a broader range of Member/contract research work to be undertaken.