Allam Cycle

Allam Cycle

A revolutionary technology to benefit today’s emissions-intensive sectors, and help create new, clean industries of the future

Overview

The background

The Allam Cycle has the potential to produce electricity at lower cost than conventional power generation, as well as capturing or reusing carbon emissions making it near-zero emission technology.

The technology is a power cycle that uses fluid CO2, created by burning a mixture of natural gas or coal syngas with pure oxygen. The high pressure CO2 is then used to drive turbines and create electricity. The carbon dioxide can be reused to produce more power, or it can be captured and/or stored safely or used by industries.

The work

LETA is involved in funding two major Allam Cycle projects:

1. Zero Emission Syngas Combustor Test

The syngas combustor project, co-funded by the US Department of Energy and LETA, explores the adaptation of Allam Cycle technology from natural gas to coal.

The project will see US engineering services firm Parametric Solutions Inc, partner with the inventors of the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, 8 Rivers Capital to design, build, and test the world’s first syngas-fuelled supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO₂) combustor for the technology. 

This test will develop a commercially applicable syngas sCO2 combustor, allowing the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle technology to be applied beyond natural gas fuel to run on syngas fuel from coal and biomass.

2. Feasibility study for near zero-emission energy and hydrogen generation from Australian coal sources

This work is to assess the viability of developing Allam Cycle projects from brown and black coal in Australia. It is being funded in partnership by LETA and Invest Victoria.

The study complements the zero emission syngas combustor test, which seeks to prove the Allam Cycle works with coal. In turn, the feasibility project’s role is to determine the business case for it in Australia. 

There are several different elements to the feasibility project, all using the near-zero emission Allam Cycle technology:

  • producing fast load following electricity for a high renewable grid
  • producing electricity and hydrogen from brown coal
  • producing electricity and hydrogen from black coal
  • producing electricity and products including ammonia (a transportable form of hydrogen), fertiliser in the form of urea, argon, oxygen and CO2 for use in food and beverages.

The feasibility study will help determine the viability of new industries that could be unlocked – including chemicals, fertiliser, clean hydrogen and clean power generation.

The outcomes

Together, the Allam Cycle projects aim to prove that competitive, zero-emission industries like hydrogen and fertiliser can be created using CCUS and coal. Additionally, at scale use of the Allam Cycle would introduce near-zero emission fossil-fuel and biomass power for Australia and establish new, clean industries - complementing renewables’ increasing role in the energy mix.

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