During the last project meeting held in Sheffield on the 21st and 22nd of March 2018, NanoMEMC2 partners visited the PACT national research facilities hosted by the University of Sheffield. These are the national specialist R&D facilities for combustion and carbon capture technology research, encompassing advanced fossil-fuel energy, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage/utilisation technologies for flexible power generation and industrial applications. PACT was established in 2012 with financial support from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (formerly the Department of Energy and Climate Change) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
PACT brings together a comprehensive range of integrated pilot-scale and accompanying specialist research and analytical facilities, supported by leading academic expertise. The visitors were given a tour of these key facilities here, comprising of two micro-gas turbines, an air and oxy-fuel combustion test facility and the new biomass/waste boiler – all of which can be integrated with the solvent-based, post-combustion carbon capture plant. A number of state-of-the-art analytical facilities were also highlighted, including the novel metal aerosol emissions laboratory. The gas turbines have the ability to run on a range of gaseous fuels and have been thoroughly instrumented to enable extensive systems monitoring. They have been adapted for carbon capture applications by implementing synthetic flue gas recirculation, simulated selective exhaust gas recycling and humidification. The combustion test facility can be operated with a wide range of solid fuels, including a variety of coals and biomasses. The system can run in both air and oxy-fuel mode to test a broad set of operating conditions. The newest addition to PACT is the boiler system, which can run on a multitude of biomass and waste fuels. This too has been highly instrumented. All these different rigs can be integrated into the on-site capture plant to assess the performance of CO2 capture different fuels. These are all complemented by the extensive supporting facilities and analytical capabilities available at PACT.
After the tour, the group were taken to Hassop Hall in the Peak District National Park, where the tour and the diversity of facilities were a great topic for dinner conversation!