Vision 21 Technologies

Vision 21 energy plants will utilize a modular design philosophy and will comprise technology modules selected and configured to produce the desired products from the feedstocks, which would include fossil fuels combined with opportunity feedstocks, such as biomass, when appropriate. The configuration of the complete plant, feedstocks, products, environmental controls, and plant size will be site specific and determined by prevailing market and economic conditions. The technology modules will be based on key technologies including:

• Combustion and high-temperature heat exchange;

• Gasification;

• Gas purification;

• Synthesis gas conversion;

• Environmental control;

• Controls and sensors;

• Computational modeling and virtual simulation;

• Systems analysis and systems integration.

Vision 21 focuses on developing the critical technologies that will be needed to design and build Vision 21 energy plants. These technologies are divided into five program elements: systems analysis, systems integration, enabling technologies, supporting technologies, and plant designs [63,66].

Systems analysis will be used to develop various system configurations that satisfy the program objectives, define the performance targets for individual subsystems, and identify supporting technology needs. Sub-elements include market analysis, process definition, process evaluation, subsystem performance requirements, economic analysis, and subsystem data analysis and model development [66].

Enabling technologies, such as gasification and advanced combustion, form the building blocks of the energy plants. Some enabling technologies are already under development; some are being demonstrated in the CCT, PPII, and CCPI programs; and others require major improvements to existing technologies. Sub-elements include gas separation, high-temperature heat exchangers, fuel-flexible gasification, gas stream purification, advanced combustion systems, fuel-flexible turbines, fuel cells, and advanced fuels and chemical development [66].

Supporting technologies are cross-cutting technologies that are necessary for multiple subsystems and components and are important for other applications as well. Program sub-elements include materials, advanced computational modeling and development of virtual demonstration capability, advanced controls and sensors, environmental control technology, and advanced manufacturing and modularization [66].

Systems integration in the energy plants will use "smart" systems integration techniques to combine high-performance subsystems into very clean and efficient low-cost plants. Sub-elements include systems engineering, dynamic response and control, and industrial ecology.

Plant designs are the major product of the Vision 21 Program. Subelements include designs for components and subsystems, prototype plants, and commercial plants. In addition, a virtual demonstration capability will be developed [66].

Significant activity is under way to address these program elements, such as in-house research projects performed by the DOE; demonstrations being conducted through the CCT, PPII, and CCPI programs; and research and development projects funded by the DOE through numerous solicitations specifically targeted for the Vision 21 Program.

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