Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2017

Author's Department

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Fossil fuels supply over 80% of the world’s primary energy and more than two-thirds of the world’s electricity. Of this, coal alone accounts for over 41% of the electricity supplied globally. Though coal is globally well-distributed and can provide stable and reliable energy on demand, it emits a large amount of carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. Serious concerns over the implication of the increased global temperature have prompted the investigation into low carbon energy alternatives. The idea of capturing the carbon dioxide emitted from the combustion sources is considered as one of the viable alternatives. This would allow the utilization of vast and widespread fuel resources (coal, oil, gas and biomass) that are capable of delivering power on demand, while mitigating the potentially harmful impact of CO2.

Support for carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) for power plants is, however, limited due to the high cost of electricity associated with the currently available technologies. The ultimate requirement of high pressure CO2 for either sequestration or utilization has led to the investigation of pressurized oxy-combustion technologies. Since at higher pressure, the dew point of the flue gas is higher than at atmospheric pressure, pressurized oxy-combustion can be utilized to extract the latent heat of condensation of the flue gas moisture, leading to an increase in plant efficiency.

A new staged, pressurized oxy-combustion (SPOC) process for power generation with carbon capture is presented in the first part of this dissertation. The proposed staged, pressurized oxy-combustion process not only extracts the latent heat of condensation of the flue gas moisture, but unlike first generation oxy-combustion or even other pressurized oxy-combustion processes, it also minimizes the recycle of flue gas. The net plant efficiency of this proposed process is more than 25% higher than that of first generation oxy-combustion. A detailed analysis of the capital and operating costs shows that the cost of electricity generated from this process would meet the U.S. Dept. of Energy target for power generation with carbon capture.

The design of a low-recycle oxy-combustion boiler is not trivial. A number of designs have been proposed, but were deemed unfit for the utility industry due to much higher heat flux than could be safely tolerated by the boiler tubes. In the second part of this dissertation, a new burner and boiler design is proposed that could be utilized in the low-recycle SPOC process. The proposed burner/boiler design 1) accommodates low flue gas recycle without exceeding wall heat flux limits, 2) increases the share of radiative over convective heat transfer in the boiler, 3) significantly reduces ash fouling and slagging, and 4) is flexible in that it is able to operate under various thermal loads. The proposed burner design would also lead to reduced soot, as compared to a normal burner. These aspects of the burner/boiler design are investigated in the dissertation.


English (en)


Richard L. Axelbaum

Committee Members

Pratim Biswas, Benjamin M. Kumfer, Jeffrey N. Phillips, Patricia Weisensee,


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