, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 329-347,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Nov 2010

Simulation of a mixed-conducting membrane-based gas turbine power plant for CO2 capture: system level analysis of operation stability and individual process unit degradation


A gas turbine power plant for CO2 capture, based on oxygen-permeable membranes with mixed ionic-electronic conductivity, was analysed with respect to long-term stability by means of numerical simulation. Due to the attractive transport and physicochemical properties of mixed-conducting La2NiO4+δ, this nickelate was selected as a prototype membrane material for this application. Experiments showed very slow degradation of La2NiO4+δ membranes at oxygen chemical potentials close to atmospheric conditions, which are associated with kinetic demixing and other microstructure-related factors. Interaction with CO2 in the intermediate temperature range also leads to lower oxygen permeation, whilst increasing oxygen pressure may cause partial phase decomposition and microstructural changes, thus again limiting the range of possible operation conditions. The relevant operational constraints were included in a detailed membrane-based gas turbine power plant model. The membrane performance degradation with time was approximated by a linear function with average rate of 3.3% per 1,000 operation hours. Furthermore, performance deterioration of the gas turbine compressor and turbine were also considered. Simulations revealed that the power plant is substantially affected by degradation of the ceramic membranes and turbomachinery components. The already rather small operating window was further narrowed when compared with a conventional gas turbine power plant. Two different designs of the membrane-based power plant were analysed: (1) with and (2) without additional combustors (afterburners) between the membrane reactor and the gas turbine. Afterburners increase thermal efficiency as well as power output, but also lead to non-negligible CO2 emissions. In order to have a frame of comparison, results for a conventional gas turbine power plant with degradation of turbomachinery components are also presented. Simulations representing changes in ambient temperature and fuel composition as well as failure incidents were executed to analyse the susceptibility of the gas turbine power plant to external and internal changes.