Nav: Home

Russian scientists developed a new technology of energy generation from bituminous coal

December 15, 2017

Bituminous coal comprises over 90% of organic fuels in the lithosphere of the Earth. By burning coal and other fossil fuels one can get electrical power (which is mainly happening at HPPs). However, the existing generation methods are not efficient, bad for the environment, and extremely resource-demanding (i.e. producing a lot of waste). Coal production and burning lead to soil and air pollution and adversely influence flora and fauna.

If fossil fuels could be directly converted into electrical energy, this would simplify and at the same time improve the structure of electrical power plants. Such direct conversion is possible with the use of electrochemical generators fueled with natural gas or mixtures with similar composition.

The team of scientists suggested an unusual scheme for the production of syngas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that is used as a replacement for natural fuels) from bituminous coal and analyzed the efficiency of its use in an electrochemical generator. It turned out that the new development may be used instead of coal burning that is environmentally unfriendly and non-productive and make the process greener and waste-free. All products generated by the new unit may be either liquefied and buried or used in the manufacturing of industry-important substances such as ethanol, ethylene, or other hydrocarbons.

"Our task was to replace a unique product - natural gas - with bituminous coal simultaneously improving energy and ecological characteristics of the units compared to the existing coal power plants. The technology proved to be very effective in joint generation of electrical and heat energy, while the configuration of the unit is much simpler," said Sergey Schecklein, a co-author of the article, doctor of technical sciences, head of the Department of Nuclear Power Plants and Renewable Energy Sources of Ural Power Engineering Institute, UrFU.

Syngas was generated in a unit with a boiling layer developed at UrFU under the guidance of professor Alexey Dubinin. It increases the intensity of reactions multiple times leading to the manufacture of a cleaner final product. After its purification the scientists put the product into a high-temperature solid oxide fuel cell where electrical energy was generated as a result of a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the air. The remaining hydrogen and carbon monoxide were transferred to a waste heat boiler where heat energy required for the technological process and generators was produced in the course of a burning reaction. WHB combustion products contain no cinder or sulfur and therefore no deep purification is needed.

The work consisted of two stages: a theoretical and an experimental one. During the first stage the scientists considered energy, physical, and chemical processes that take place in the suggested unit scheme and determined its main energy characteristics. Scientists also pointed out that the suggested technological scheme provided for the same fuel efficiency characteristics as cutting-edge solutions using fuels in short supply, such as oil and gas.

On the experimental stage of the work scientists obtained syngas from coal fuel. It is a quite energy-intensive and easily transportable material. The authors studied the composition of the gas in a wide range of regimes and found out the area of maximum boiling layer stability and efficient gas generation.

Research in this area is being carried out all over the world with the USA, China, and Germany among the leaders. Still, the Russian solution is unique. Right now the team negotiates the development of demo units with industry partners. The next step will be the scaling of the unit and the launch of its mass production.

"The obtained results may lay the ground for the new energy sector of the 21st century," concluded the scientist.

Ural Federal University

Related Hydrogen Articles:

Paving the way for hydrogen fuel cells
The hype around hydrogen fuel cells has died down, but scientists have continued to pursue new technologies that could enable such devices to gain a firmer foothold.
Keeping the hydrogen coming
A coating of molybdenum improves the efficiency of catalysts for producing hydrogen.
Hydrogen bonds directly detected for the first time
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope.
Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen
Hydrogen is both the simplest and the most-abundant element in the universe, so studying it can teach scientists about the essence of matter.
Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality
Nearly a century after it was theorized, Harvard scientists have succeeded in creating metallic hydrogen.
From theory to reality: The creation of metallic hydrogen
For more than 80 years, it has been predicted that hydrogen will adopt metallic properties under certain conditions, and now researchers have successfully demonstrated this phenomenon.
Artificial leaf goes more efficient for hydrogen generation
A new study, affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has introduced a new artificial leaf that generates hydrogen, using the power of the Sun to mimic underwater photosynthesis.
Hydrogen from sunlight -- but as a dark reaction
The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis.
New process produces hydrogen at much lower temperature
Waseda University researchers have developed a new method for producing hydrogen, which is fast, irreversible, and takes place at much lower temperature using less energy.
Hydrogen in your pocket? New plastic for carrying and storing hydrogen
A Waseda University research group has developed a polymer which can store hydrogen in a light, compact and flexible sheet, and is safe to touch even when filled with hydrogen gas.

Related Hydrogen Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...