The use of indirect biomass co-firing to transform coal-fired power plants into Renewable Jet Fuel production facilities
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Given the current tendency and momentum in the energy transition to shift from fossil fuels to renewable fuels, coal-fired power plants throughout Europe are expected to be mothballed in the near future. These stranded assets could however form a useful basis for Renewable Jet Fuel (RJF) production facilities. In a gradual transformation of these coal-power plants first their end of life is postponed by introducing biomass co-firing through a gasification system, while later the coal boiler is decommissioned and replaced by a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis add-on, in order to produce FT liquids from the same biomass gasification system. Through a techno-economic analysis and two case studies at coal-power plants in respectively Denmark (DONG Energy Asnaes 5 power plant) and the Netherlands (RWE Amer 9 power plant) the feasibility of such a transformation is investigated. The results of the case studies are benchmarked to Greenfield RJF production facilities in order to map the potential benefits of using these stranded assets and extending the coal-power plant’s lifetime. With no subsidies incorporated, the resulting Net Present Values (NPVs) are negative in the case studies (between -600 and -1000 Million Euro), but are between 10% to 20% higher than the NPVs of similar Greenfield projects. The most promising result is that in the worst case study the NPV of the transformation is about -1000 Million euro, which is lower than the redemption fees that are likely to be claimed by utilities from the government for closing down the coal-power plant. Therefore the conclusion is that this gradual transformation could be a better option than mothballing the plants.