The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has undertaken a review of coal gasification technologies that integrate with solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) to achieve system efficiencies near 60% while capturing and sequestering >90% of the carbon dioxide [1–2]. One way to achieve an overall system efficiency of greater than 60% is in a power plant in which a catalytic coal gasifier produces a syngas with a methane composition of roughly 25% on a dry volume basis and this is sent to a SOFC, with CO2 capture occurring either before or after the SOFC. Integration of a catalytic gasifier with a SOFC, as opposed to a conventional entrained flow gasifier, is improved due to (a) decreased exergy destruction inside a catalytic, steam-coal gasifier producing a high-methane content syngas, and (b) decreased exergy destruction in the SOFC due to the ability to operate at lower air stoichiometric flow ratios. For example, thermal management of the SOFC is greatly improved due to the steam-methane reforming in the anode of the fuel cell. This paper has two main goals. First, we converted the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) estimates of various research groups into an average internal rate of return on investment (IRR) in order to make comparisons between their results, and to underscore the increased rate of return on investment for advanced integrated gasification fuel cell systems with carbon capture & sequestration (IGFC-CCS) compared with conventional integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC-CCS) systems and pulverized coal combustion (PCC-CCS) systems. Using capital, labor, and fuel costs from previous researchers and using an average price of baseload electricity generation of $61.50 / MW-hr, we calculated inflation-adjusted IRR values of up to 13%/yr for catalytic gasification with pressurized fuel cell and carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), whereas we calculate an IRR of ∼4%/yr and ∼2%/yr for new, conventional IGCC-CCS and PCC-CCS, respectively. If the carbon dioxide is used for enhanced oil recovery rather than for saline aquifer storage, then the IRR values improve to 16%/yr, 10%/yr, and 8%/yr, respectively. For comparison, the IRR of a new conventional IGCC or PCC power plant without CO2 capture are estimated to be 11%/yr and 15.0%/yr, respectively. Second, we conducted an exergy analysis of two different configurations in which syngas from a catalytic gasifier fuels a SOFC. In the first case, the CO2 is captured before the SOFC, and the anode tail gas is sent back to the catalytic gasifier. In the second case, the anode tail gas is oxy-combusted using oxygen ion ceramic membranes and then CO2 is captured for sequestration. In both cases, we find that the system efficiency is greater than 60%. These values compare well with previous system analysis [1–4]. In future work, we plan to calculate the IRR of these two cases and compare with previous economic analyses conducted at NETL [1–2].

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