Oxyfuel demonstration provides valuable lessons

Organisation: Global CCS Institute

A 30 megawatt demonstration project of oxyfiring and carbon capture in Queensland, Australia has provided valuable lessons for future deployment of the technology at a commercial scale.

The Callide Oxyfuel Project has been operating in oxy-firing mode at Callide A Power Station in Australia since December 2012, making it one of the most advanced carbon capture projects in the world.

The demonstration phase follows the retrofit of Callide A with oxyfuel technology and the construction of a carbon dioxide (CO2) capture plant on the site. Callide A is located just outside the town of Biloela, in central Queensland, and is typical of many coal-fired power stations operating around the world.

The aim of the project is to prove the suitability of oxyfuel technology for both new build and existing coal-fired power stations. As a demonstration project, the Callide Oxyfuel Project has provided a valuable ‘test-run’ of the technology at a smaller scale, before it is developed and applied at a commercial scale in the future.

With the support of the Global CCS Institute, the Callide Oxyfuel Project has just released a report summarising the lessons learned from the project so far. This article provides an overview of the project and key aspects of the report.

Project scope

The Callide Oxyfuel Project has comprised the following:

  1. Refurbishment of the existing Callide A unit 4 (completed in 2008).
  2. Retrofit of oxy-firing and CO2 capture technology (completed in 2012).
  3. Demonstration of oxy-combustion and CO2 capture (underway – started in 2012 finishes at the end of 2014).
  4. Project conclusion (post 2014).

As of May 2014, the Callide A boiler has been in oxy-firing mode for more than 6,000 hours and the CO2 capture plant has achieved more than 3,000 hours of industrial operation – passing the halfway mark on the project’s overall targets.

The project has been able to demonstrate CO2 capture rates from the oxyfuel flue gas stream to the CO2 capture plant in excess of 85%, and produce a high quality CO2 product suitable for geological storage.

An international joint venture

The Callide Oxyfuel Project is a joint venture between CS Energy, ACA Low Emissions Technologies (ACALET), Glencore, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and Japanese participants J-Power, Mitsui & Co., Ltd and IHI Corporation.

The project was awarded AU$63 million from the Australian Government under the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund and has also received financial support from the Japanese and Queensland governments and technical support from JCOAL.

Project goals

The project has two broad goals, namely to:

  1. Demonstrate a complete and integrated process of oxy-fuel combustion of pulverised coal within a National Electricity Market facility, incorporating oxygen production, oxy-fuel combustion, and CO2 processing and liquefaction; and to assess CO2 transport and geological storage.
  2. Obtain detailed engineering design and costing data and operational experience to under-pin the commercial development and deployment of new and retrofit oxy-fuel boiler applications for electricity generation.
  3. The project has been collaborating with R&D organisations and participants in other projects to carry out a number of tests at Callide A to help optimise the technology and share knowledge. This will help progress the commercialisation and deployment of oxyfuel combustion with carbon capture.

Some of the tests carried out at Callide A as part of the Callide Oxyfuel Project include:

  • Testing to monitor the performance of modern super-critical and ultra-supercritical boiler materials as test specimens in oxy-firing conditions. As Callide A is a 1960s era non-supercritical plant, this is important for testing the suitability of oxyfuel for new coal-fired power stations.
  • Combustion testing of both local Callide coal and other coals in the boiler in oxy-firing mode.
  • Boiler ‘turndown tests’ to assess the flexibility of the plant to adjust its output in response to electricity market conditions.
  • Performance tests on the carbon dioxide capture plant to determine capture efficiency, scale-up merits and issues for future deployment.

The Callide Oxyfuel Project is also advancing the understanding of CO2 transport and storage options through its contributions to a number of feasibility studies and investigations.

Lessons learned

All phases of the project have provided a great deal of knowledge and experience to inform future oxyfuel technology development. Of particular importance have been the lessons learned concerning:

  • Establishment of the project (structure, business systems, budgets, and schedules)
  • Contract management
  • Communications (with Partners, stakeholders and the public)
  • Identification and control of technical risks associated with the technology
  • Operating and maintenance strategies and experience
  • Managing workplace health and safety and the environment
  • Transitioning of the power station culture and skill base from conventional coal-fired power plant to more complex and multi-purpose facilities designed to make electricity and capture CO2 and other emissions
  • Enhancements that would be applied to the next scale up of the oxyfuel and CO2 capture technology
  • Efficacy of the technology in general.

A full copy of the report Callide Oxyfuel Project – Lessons Learned is available on the Global Carbon Capture Institute website.

Additional information on the Callide Oxyfuel Project is available at

2. The Callide A boiler was retrofitted with oxyfuel technology and new build carbon capture and oxygen plants were constructed next to the station.