CCC/226 ISBN 978-92-9029-546-4

October 2013

copyright © IEA Clean Coal Centre


In the last ten years circulating fluidised bed combustion (CFBC) has emerged as a viable alternative

to pulverised coal combustion (PCC) for utility-scale coal power generation, with widespread

deployment of 300 MW boilers and the successful demonstration of supercritical units of up to

600 MW. Although CFBC offers a greater degree of fuel flexibility and does not usually require

downstream flue gas cleaning, high capital costs and high auxiliary power use have hindered the

adoption of CFBC for utility power generation. Recent advances in CFBC unit capacity and steam

conditions have led to higher efficiencies and economies of scale, with the result that a CFBC plant

may now be more economically favourable than a PCC plant depending on a range of factors such as

available fuels and regional emissions limits. This report reviews the state-of-the-art for both

technologies and provides a comparison of their relative performances and economic costs. Standard

operational parameters such as efficiency, availability, and flexibility are assessed, in addition to

relative suitability for biomass cofiring and oxyfuel combustion as strategies for carbon mitigation. A

review of recent cost evaluations of the two technologies is accompanied by a breakdown of

individual plant expenses including flue gas scrubbing equipment and ash recycle value.

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