Seminar | Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Electricity Generation from Fossil Fuels


The continued usage of fossil fuels to keep up with the growing energy needs calls for innovative measures to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Post-combustion capture, pre-combustion capture, oxy-combustion and chemical looping combustion are promising carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. In each process, harmful pollutants besides CO2, e.g. sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), trace metals and particulates, are released as a result of the combustion process.

This talk will give an overview of our current investigations of pollutant formation during various combustion processes at a fundamental level combining bench-scale experiments and kinetic modeling. In the first part of the talk, formation of SOx and NOx species and their interaction during oxy-combustion will be discussed. The characteristics of oxy-combustion and air-combustion are fairly different and this results in changes in the behavior of pollutants in the flue gas, thus the emissions. As research in this area is growing, the fundamental understanding of pollutant formation remains to be elucidated and our goal is to understand the speciation and behavior of these pollutants under oxy-fired conditions before developing removal technologies.

In the second part, nitrogen chemistry in gas turbines burning high hydrogen content (HHC) fuels will be discussed. Combustion of HHC fuels is central to the implementation of integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) systems or to other configurations that would optimize power production while minimizing emissions. Accurate predictions of NOx under gas turbine operation regimes are among the major challenges for the design and development of gas turbines using HHC fuels. In this study, detailed NOx speciation measurements in the post-flame region have been conducted for different fuel compositions at various pressures up to 15 bar and the effects of pressure and the presence of hydrocarbons have been investigated. High-pressure speciation data that is obtained in this study can provide validation information needed for improving the kinetic models available in the literature by providing further constraints.


Bihter Padak is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of South Carolina and associated with the SmartState Center for Strategic Approaches to the Generation of Electricity (SAGE). As part of SAGE, her research focuses on combustion and emission control technologies, and aims to reduce the environmental impacts of generating electricity from fossil fuels.

She received her Ph.D. in Energy Resources Engineering from Stanford University in 2011. She received her master of science degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and her bachelor of science degree from Istanbul Technical University in chemical engineering. She has received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) 35Under35 Award in the Energy area for her contributions to the Institute and the chemical engineering profession.


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