De-risking with staged development

DICE needs considerable development and demonstration to match the technical development of current technologies, but has strong technical merit because of the ability to carry out a near-commercial scale demonstration at a relatively small size (around 10 MW), both quickly and at relatively low cost. Even so, a staged development program has been devised with MAN for both black and brown coals to de-risk the demonstration projects proposed starting 2015.

The nominal program is envisaged as follows:

YearDevelopment Activity
2015-16 Pilot tests and initial development using a 1 MW single cylinder test engine, firing MRC from pilot plants in the Hunter Valley and Victoria/Indonesia.
2016–17 Development and design of relevant components and systems for a prototype engine.
2018-19 Demonstration-scale operation of MRC production with a prototype engine. Consortia are being established for two possible demonstration projects: a medium speed four-stroke engine demonstration at Delta Electricity’s Vales Point Power Station, and a low-speed two-stroke engine demonstration in the Latrobe Valley. Both demonstrations would provide near full-scale experience to enable the next step of a commercial engine.
2020 Establishment of first commercial engine at site(s) and on-going refinements.

This staging allows sequential de-risking and cost-effective development, and is necessary to provide the experience and data required to develop the components and a new engine design before 2019.  In comparison to other new technologies, DICE has the advantage of being based entirely on relatively small adaptations of existing commercial technology, and at small scale - attributes that have the potential to drastically shorten the time required to progress from pilot through demonstration to commercial deployment.

The program aims to implement step improvements in technologies across the DICE fuel cycle that will result in commercialisation of DICE in its 3rd generation. These include technologies to give a step reduction in the cost of MRC production, up to a 10 fold increase in cylinder size, and optimisation of combustion using the latest electronic engine controls, but with an otherwise standard engine layout; see figure below. In addition to the development of the 3rd generation cycle, parallel R&D has also commenced for the 4th generation DICE fuel cycle, one that is fully optimised for solid carbon-based fuels, and with integrated CO2 capture.

Generations of DICE development: 1892-2013 and beyond
Generations of DICE development: 1892-2013 and beyond