Electricity System Capacity Expansion and Operational Modeling for Evaluation and Optimization of Flexible Carbon Capture and Sequestration Systems

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Exploratory Topics
Princeton, New Jersey
Project Term:
07/13/2020 - 04/30/2025

Critical Need:

This topic works to develop electricity system models and associated analysis that can inform technology development for new grid resources. This includes the ability to model carbon capture and storage (CCS) -enabled power plants with more fidelity as well as model negative-emission resources such as direct air capture (DAC) systems. Additionally, projects will work to generate a set of electricity price signals that will allow CCS technology developers to appropriately value the operating characteristics of their systems, and to evaluate how technology tradeoffs will impact total system costs of electricity under a range of carbon emissions constraints. These projects will work concurrently with teams selected under ARPA-E’s FLECCS program (FLExible Carbon Capture and Storage), to help them evaluate the impact of their CCS technologies in a net-zero carbon grid. Flexible CCS technology can achieve high CO2 capture rates from flue gas, further enables the continued use of low-cost domestic fuel for electricity generation, and increases the reliability of deeply decarbonized electricity. Electricity system models such as capacity expansion models are used to study the evolution of the electricity-generating portfolio of a grid as a function of time and across various technology and policy scenarios. These types of models have shown that when fossil-fueled power generators are equipped with CCS technology meeting certain cost and performance metrics, they can further reduce the cost of a net-zero carbon electricity system.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Princeton University will improve and apply the existing GenX configurable electricity system planning model to evaluate the value of fossil-fueled power plants with CCS and direct air capture technologies in future electricity grids under a range of possible future scenarios, including high shares of variable renewable energy sources. With these improvements, Princeton University will explore the ‘design space’ or combination of possible cost and performance parameters for each major subcomponent of a generic natural gas-fired power plant with CCS. The team will evaluate several designs and strategies, including load following and part-load operation of generation and capture systems, integrated thermal or electrical storage, and buffering of the carbon capture medium itself to shift the timing of energy consumption by CCS systems.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Jack Lewnard
Project Contact:
Dr. Jesse Jenkins
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