Process Modelling

The following are some of the projects that we can offer:

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Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr W Nimmo and Professor Lin Ma

In the urban environment at the household to institutional-scale the availability and composition of waste biomass feedstocks, suitable for biogas production, is likely to vary on a variety of timescales. This raises issues about how the AD system can be designed to meet the local energy demands and to be resilient to these changes in feedstock quantity and composition. This research will use a combination of modelling and experimental work to investigate and optimise the algorithms for optimal process control. The research will benefit from the available experimental facilities including laboratory-scale digesters, excellent analytical facilities, expertise in the computer modelling of AD process kinetics, mass balance and operational strategies and links with industry through our collaborative work.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Expert control systems for AD systems

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr W Nimmo and Professor Lin Ma

AD is non-linear process which is notoriously difficult to control automatically and therefore has in the past relied on expert operators to maintain the performance and stability of AD sites. At household to institutional scale this is financially unfeasible and therefore it is of great interest to investigate the possibility of expert control systems for AD plants. This work will consolidate the large amount of theoretical research performed in this area and select the most practical systems. These will be optimised using calibrated AD process models and tested at laboratory scale. The research will benefit from the available experimental facilities including laboratory-scale digesters, excellent analytical facilities, expertise in the computer modelling of AD process kinetics, mass balance and operational strategies and links with industry through our collaborative work with micro-AD development sites in the UK.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Integration of algal biofuel and biogas production

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr W Nimmo and Professor Lin Ma

There is an increased international interest in the use of algae to sustainably produce liquid biofuels to meet future energy demands, however there are many technical challenges associated with this promising technology. Anaerobic digestion/biogas production is an ideal synergistic process to the algal biofuel production and could help to satisfy the local parasitic energy demand of the biofuel production process, in a similar way to how it is currently used in wastewater treatment. The potential synergies include nutrient recycling, residue valorisation, biogas upgrading to biomethane and reduced water use. This project will develop knowledge in the integration of these two technologies using a multi-disciplinary approach involving process, biochemical and CFD modelling supported by bench scale experimental work. The student will benefit from links with industry.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Dynamic simulation of power generation plant for carbon capture and storage

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

The new generation of power plants should offer effective solutions to reduce emissions and implement CO2 capture and storage. However, the combination of a complex fuel-processing plant and the level of integration lead to challenging problems with respect to the dynamic/transient operation. In addition, electricity market demands require more flexible controlling of the power plant output. These operation specifications can be satisfied by proper design of the process, its equipment and control system. A dynamic model of the entire system is an advantageous tool to test the effect of different process configurations and different control strategies. For carbon capture, an oxygen-rich oxidant is used, which requires an air separation unit for oxygen generation. Power generation plant options are Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and Oxyfuel combustion.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Novel gas turbine configurations for carbon capture

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

Natural gas will play a significant role in the future energy mix. Natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants produce around half the emissions of advanced coal-fired power plants. However, even if natural gas is used to replace all coal consumption, the reduced emissions would not meet the global reduction targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Therefore, NGCC with post-combustion CO2 capture can have a benefit in the next-generation power systems. One key challenge of integrating carbon capture with a NGCC power plant is that the plant efficiency is reduced by about 15%. As a result, novel configurations are needed to increase the plant efficiency and power output of the system. Some options are exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), Humid Air Turbine (HAT), steam and water injection, and hybrid systems. These configurations can be assessed by simulation software tools to identify technical advantages of the proposed modifications.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Carbon capture from gas turbines

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

Natural gas is seen as cleaner than other fossil fuels and will continue to have an essential role in the energy mix of the future, particularly in the UK. There are however stringent CO2 emission reduction targets in place and therefore the carbon intensity of energy generation from all sources needs to be considerably reduced, predominantly from fossil fuel sources. Gas turbines already generate relatively low levels of CO2, but coupled with post-combustion carbon capture and storage (CCS), they will be an integral technology for the UK to meet such environmental legislation. Design improvements on both the power generation side and capture plant side however will be required to optimise this process and their integration, as well as to enhance the overall system efficiency. After a review of pertinent literature, this project will initially consist of modelling the gas turbine at the UKCCSRC National Research Facilities – PACT (www.pact.ac.uk). To improve plant performance, selective exhaust gas recycling will also be modelled – this involves selectively recirculating the CO2 separated from the flue gases back into the compressor inlet. The flue gases are passed through a membrane to separate out the CO2 from the other exhaust components. Comparative studies with conventional flue gas recycling (no CO2 separation) can be conducted. Aspen Plus will be used to facilitate this work and accomplish the project aims, which can be validated using the baseline experimental data already acquired for the gas turbine in question.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Negative CO2 Emissions through Combining Bio-Energy and Carbon Capture

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

Stringent CO2 emission reduction targets that are now in effect mean that the carbon intensity of energy generation from all sources needs to be considerably reduced in order to meet such goals. The use of biomass fuels – either dedicated biomass firing or co-firing with fossil fuels, such as coal – can considerably minimise the net CO2 emissions to atmosphere from conventional energy generation processes, i.e. combustion. Coupling biomass utilisation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies could mean the CO2 emissions from such forms of energy production are further reduced and even have the potential to lead to zero or negative emissions. This project will aim to compare different fuel resources (coal, wood chips and co-firing these two fuels) in terms of their carbon intensity and techno-economics, when used with and without CCS applications. A large-scale power facility will be modelled using the IECM and Aspen packages to achieve the project objectives, with input data and other parameters being acquired from the literature review conducted.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Amine solvent degradation in CO2 capture

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

CO2 capture and storage is believed to be a promising option for controlling CO2 emissions in the short to medium term. Several methods exist for CO2 capture, with amine capture being the most promising commercial technology at the present time. In this method, a series of degradation products with possible impact to the environment and human health may be formed. These substances may have a wide range of chemical characteristics, such as high pKa, low pKa, polar substituents, multifunctional and mono functional groups. The goal of this project is to measure these species by various experimental techniques, and develop chemical kinetic and physical models that predict the degradation and emission of these substances within the amine capture plant, and additionally predict their atmospheric fate. This will make use of the UKCCSRC PACT facilities to provide experimental data from a pilot scale amine capture plant.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Oxyfuel Combustion plant – CCS; experiment and modelling

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

This project will combine an experimental and modelling study of an oxyfuel combustion plant with CCS. A 250 kW pulverised coal/biomass burner operating under air or oxy-fired conditions is connected to a post combustion amine capture plant to remove CO2 from the exhaust gas stream, and the efficiency of this as a function of operating conditions will be investigated. This will be complemented by process simulation with the gPROMS or ASPEN software package to investigate the overall system performance and economics.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Modelling gas turbine based power generation system incorporating CCS technology

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an emerging near-zero emission technology that can applied to next generation gas turbine based power stations, new and retrofit, leading to a substantial reduction in carbon emission to the atmosphere. This project will develop novel performance and/or techno‐economic assessment tools for simulating gas turbine based power generation system employing different CCS technologies. Plant process simulation software packages, such as the gPROMs and Aspen will be employed with some complementary experimental investigations. The outcome from the project may be used in assisting future CCS power plant design optimisation.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Future electrical power generation system integration and control

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

With the projected increase in the contributions from renewable energy to the power generation mix in the foreseeable future, a new control strategy of power generation and supply need to be investigated to mitigate the impact of the uncertainties of renewable power sources. The research will be focused on how best to match the power generation from a network consisting of renewable (usually fluctuating), nuclear and the conventional fossil fuel based power generations to the fluctuating electricity demand in a large scale. The research will be mainly modelling based, integrated and supported by measurements.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Low cost, energy efficient biomethane production from landfill gas or biogas

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr W Nimmo and Professor Lin Ma

Biomethane can be produced from biogas or landfill gas in a fairly simple water scrubbing system. This process has been used on large scale biogas plants but the optimal operation has not been fully investigated. Existing validated models will be used to design the process conditions to give optimal conversion to the required quality of biomethane depending on the application (vehicle use, CHP, grid injection) such as operating pressure, water and gas flow rates and packing media. This will lead onto a techno-economic assessment of the process and its integration into the larger AD energy system. The student will benefit from excellent laboratory and analytical facilities and links with industry through our collaborative work and have access to micro-AD development sites in the UK where pilot scale test facilities can be developed.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Combined Cycle Gas Turbine – CCS; experiment and modelling

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

This project will combine an experimental and modelling study of a combined cycle gas turbine with CCS. A Turbec T100 gas turbine will be modified to allow the investigation of the effect of exhaust gas recycle and or steam injection on its performance, with measurement of power output and exhaust gas emissions. The exhaust is connected to a post combustion amine capture plant to remove CO2 from the exhaust gas stream, and the efficiency of this as a function of turbine operating conditions will also be investigated. This will be complemented by process simulation with the gPROMS or ASPEN software package to investigate the overall system performance and economics.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Modelling post combustion amine CO2 capture plant

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an emerging near-zero emission technology that can applied to next generation gas turbine based power stations, new and retrofit, leading to a substantial reduction in carbon emission to the atmosphere. This project will develop novel performance assessment tools for simulating the CO2 absorption process in an amine plant. Plant process simulation software packages, such as gPROMs and Aspen will be employed with some complementary experimental investigations. The outcome from the project may be used in assisting future CCS power plant design optimisation.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Process Optimization of Liquid Fuel Synthesis From Renewable Energy Sources

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Kevin Hughes

Demand for energy supply in the present global environment is continuously increasing with the growth of population and economic development. This poses problems both in terms of sustainability and carbon emissions. Standard approaches to CO2 capture and storage impose a cost that discourages their implementation. This project proposes to investigate an alternative which is the conversion of CO2 with hydrogen into a commercially valuable liquid fuel. The gPROMs and ASPEN process modelling packages will be used to investigate the overall system performance and economics of various plant configurations, and propose optimal configurations for these systems.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Process modelling of biomass gasification systems integrated with CO2 capture

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr Kevin Hughes, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Maria Elena Diego de Paz

Combination of energy generation from biomass sources and CO2 capture technologies (Bio-CCS or BECCS) is already recognized as a potential option to tackle climate change in most scenarios, as it is linked to the concept of negative CO2 emissions. This project will use process simulation tools such as Aspen Hysys or gCCS (gPROMS) to investigate these systems. A complete and rigorous model will be created and run for the gasification system, considering a range of biomass sources (including wastes) with different composition as raw materials. Several CO2 capture technologies will be then simulated and coupled to the gasification system (e.g., amines, Rectisol process, VSA, etc.) incorporating the latest advancements. A techno-economic analysis will be conducted and these options will be compared in terms of capture performance, energy consumption and cost.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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Analysis of post-combustion CO2 capture from natural gas power plants using CFD and process co-simulation

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr Kevin Hughes, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Maria Elena Diego de Paz

The use of natural gas as a fuel for electricity production is expected to gradually increase in the next decades. Since it is acknowledged that large CO2 emission cuts should be achieved in the near future, it seems plausible that these systems may have to be coupled to CO2 capture schemes. This research project focuses on combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and process simulation tools to study in detail the performance of an amine capture post-combustion plant coupled to a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant using the synergetic combination between Ansys Fluent and Aspen Hysys/gCCS (gPROMS) modelling tools. The idea is to replace the typical absorber and stripper blocks present in the process simulation flowsheet by more detail-designed units built using CFD tools. This will allow for a more accurate description of the system and better characterization of the performance of the key units of the capture process. Several NGCC variants will be studied and analyzed following this procedure, including conventional NGCC plants and those incorporating exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective exhaust gas recirculation (S-EGR) options. This is part of research activities that include virtual reality power industry plant simulation.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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A Societal Index Model for the Assessment of the Safety, Operability and Resilience level of Regional Mini Energy Grid

Supervisor: Prof M Pourkashanian, Dr Y Wu, Dr K Hughes

The project is aimed at developing an open expert system for the end user and also for the developer to carry out the risk analysis involved in systems utilizing upcoming new energy technologies. This will also aid in the implementation of strategies to manage and minimize the risks involved. The system will incorporate the expert suites for risk assessment techniques and frameworks, as well as the codes/standards and numerical models to predict the consequences of fires, explosions and other accidents at data banks through the form of case studies. The expert system will produce a societal index to aid the decision making process on the energy systems’ safety, security level, operability and resilience.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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Dynamic simulation of load-following power plants integrated with CO2 capture technologies

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Dr Kevin Hughes, Professor Lin Ma and Dr Maria Elena Diego de Paz

Flexible operation of fossil fuel power plants is becoming a hot topic in the energy generation sector due to the expected increase of intrinsically intermittent renewable technologies in the energy mix in the near future. This flexible operation mode of the energy systems is challenging, especially when these plants are coupled to CO2 capture technologies. This study aims at investigating the dynamic behavior of natural gas fired power plants integrated with a post-combustion amine CO2 capture system, using process simulation tools such as Aspen Hysys and/or gCCS (gPROMS). The performance of the whole system will be assessed under dynamic conditions. Different integration options between the power plant and the capture system will be studied and analysed from a techno-economic perspective.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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