Technological Learning in the Energy Sector

Technological Learning in the Energy Sector

Lessons for Policy, Industry and Science

Edited by Martin Junginger, Wilfried van Sark and André Faaij

Technological learning is a key driver behind the improvement of energy technologies and subsequent reduction of production costs. Understanding how and why production costs for energy technologies decline, and whether they will continue to do so in the future, is of crucial importance for policy makers, industrial stakeholders and scientists alike. This timely and informative book therefore provides a comprehensive review of technological development and cost reductions for renewable energy, clean fossil fuel and energy-efficient demand-side technologies.

Chapter 12: Pulverized Coal-fired Power Plants

Paul Lako, Sonia Yeh and Machteld van den Broek

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, environment, energy policy and regulation, innovation and technology, technology and ict


Paul Lako, Sonia Yeh and Machteld van den Broek 12.1 INTRODUCTION Coal-fired steam-electric power plants, in this chapter denoted as ‘Pulverized Coal-fired or PC power plants’, are a mature technology, in use for over a century. The basic components of a pulverized coal-fired power plant include a section for coal storage, handling and preparation, a boiler, and a steam turbine generator set. Coal is ground to fine particles, blown into the boiler, and the steam that is generated by burning the fine coal particles is used to drive the steam turbine generator. Ancillary equipment and systems include flue gas treatment equipment and stack, an ash handling system, a condenser cooling system, and a switchyard and transmission interconnection. Environmental control has become increasingly important, and since the 1980s PC plants are increasingly equipped with low-NOx burners, Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD), filters for particulate removal, generally Electrostatic Precipitators, and closed-cycle cooling systems. Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) for nitrogen oxides (NOx) control is becoming increasingly common. Beginning in the late 1980s, the economic and environmental advantages of gas-fired Combined Cycle (CC) power plants resulted in Combined Cycle plant technology eclipsing pulverized coal-fired power technology for new resource development in North America and European countries. In the last few years, however, there is a switch back from gas-fired plants to new coal-fired power plants. These new coal-fired power plants, supercritical and ultra-supercritical PC plants, typically operating at high temperature and pressure, can be cost-competitive with gas-fired plants in places where coal prices are relative...

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