The Callide oxyfuel demonstration project is leading the way in the development of low-carbon coal-fired electricity generation, say the project partners.

The oxy-firing project at the Callide A power plant in Queensland, Australia has passed 7500 hours of operation as well as 3700 hours of industrial operation at its carbon dioxide capture plant.

The demonstration started operating in December 2012 and will run until early 2015, according to CS Energy, which has spearheaded the project alongside partners including ACA Low Emission Technologies (ACALET), Glencore, Schlumberger, J-Power, Mitsui and IHI Corporation.

Oxy-firing involves burning coal in a mixture of oxygen and recirculated exhaust gases, instead of air, and results in a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide suitable for capture and storage. At Callide oxyfiring technology was retrofitted to the 30 MW unit A and a carbon dioxide capture plant was built alongside the unit.

Project Director Dr Chris Spero said the Callide oxyfuel project aimed to prove the suitability of oxyfuel technology for both new build and existing coal-fired power stations.

"The Callide oxyfuel project and other oxyfuel projects underway around the world are essential to the development of the technology and its future application at a commercial scale," Dr Spero said.

The oxyfuel boiler at Callide A has demonstrated smooth and reliable transition between conventional air firing and oxyfiring modes as well as a significant improvement in coal combustion efficiency, says CS Energy.

The project has also demonstrated carbon dioxide capture rates of over 85 per cent as well as effective removal of trace elements and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen from the oxyfuel boiler flue gas stream.

Sian Crampsie