Modeling, optimization, and cost analysis of an IGCC plant with a membrane reactor for carbon capture

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This article presents a theoretical study on the integration of a membrane reactor (MR) for carbon capture into an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant. First-principles, simplified systems-level models for the individual IGCC units and the MR are introduced for their subsequent plantwide integration. The integrated plant model is then used for simulation studies that assume different MR characteristics. Using this model, an optimization problem is formulated to analyze the MR effects when adding it to the IGCC plant, while satisfying all of the process constraints in streams and performance variables. The solution of this optimization problem indicates improvements in the original case studies, including capital cost savings as high as $18 million for the optimal case under nominal process conditions. To determine the cost implications of inserting the MR into the IGCC plant, a differential cost analysis is performed taking into account major plant capital and operating costs. This analysis considers the same amount of coal and power generation for cases with and without the MR. The results of this analysis based on a present value of annuity calculation show break even costs for the MR within the feasible range for membrane fabrication, even for short membrane lifetimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1568-1580
Number of pages13
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Institute of Chemical Engineers.


  • Carbon capture
  • Cost analysis
  • IGCC
  • Membrane reactor
  • Optimization


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