United States
                    Environmental Protection
                    Agency
 Air and Energy Engineering
 Research Laboratory
 Research Triangle Park NC 27711
                    Research and Development
 EPA-600/S7-84-100 Jan. 1985
SER&          Project Summary
                    Feasibility of  Producing
                    Commodities and  Electricity for
                    Space  Shuttle  Operations at
                   Vandenberg Air  Force  Base
                    P.J. Murin, K.A. Ferland, A.F. Jones, S.N. Husband,
                    R.L. Leonard, and W.C. Thomas
                     The report gives results of an analysis
                   of the technical and economic feasibility
                   of the on-site production of commodities
                   (liquid propellents and gases) and
                   electricity to support space shuttle
                   launch activities at Vandenberg Air
                   Force Base (VAFB).
                     Both commercial and developing
                   systems were considered. Systems to
                   supply  electricity were considered to
                   meet continuous electricity demands
                   only, critical launch demands only, or
                   both continuous and critical launch
                   demands. In  addition to systems  to
                   supply commodities only, several
                   systems to produce both commodities
                   and electricity  were considered. All
                   systems were evaluated for technical
                   risk, conversion efficiency, environmen-
                   tal impacts, reliability, and economics.
                     A major finding is that over the near
                   term (1992 to  2013), VAFB cannot
                   produce electricity at a price competitive
                   with purchased electricity. Also, unless
                   hydrogen  markets on the West Coast
                   fundamentally change, there is no
                   incentive  to produce liquid hydrogen
                   (the commodity of primary interest) on-
                   site at VAFB. These and other findings
                   were used to recommend possible
                   follow-up actions to the USAF.
                     This Project Summary was developed
                   by EPA's Air and Energy Engineering
                   Research Laboratory, Research Triangle
                   Park, NC, to announce key findings of
                   the research project that is fully docu-
                   mented in a separate report of the same
                   title  (see Project Report ordering
                   information at back).
Introduction
  The technical and economic feasibility
of the on-site production of commodities
(liquid propellants and gases) and electri-
city to support space shuttle launch activ-
ities at Vandenberg Air Force Base
(VAFB) was analyzed. This is a summary
of the principal conclusions and recom-
mendations of the  completed feasibility
study.
  The two-fold purpose of this study was:
(1) because of the potential to reduce the
costs and improve the reliability of supply
of electrical power and commodities, the
USAF was  interested in evaluating
alternatives for the on-site production of
commodities and electrical power at its
Western shuttle launch site at VAFB; and
(2) because the  existing backup  power
supply at VAFB is unable to support
shuttle launch operations if the primary
power supply fails,  and can support only
the shutdown of launch operations, the
Air Force was interested in determining
the most cost effective ways of providing
a reliable backup power supply that could
allow the completion of launch operations.
The backup power systems could be used
alone or as part of systems used for the
continuous production of commodities
and electricity.
  The feasibility study covered the period
from  1992 (the year presumed for  the
start-up of on-site  plants) to 2013 (the
presumed end of the useful life of on-site
plants). Both commercial and developmen-
tal concepts were considered. The energy
and feedstock resources considered for
use in on-site  plants were: fuel oils,

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natural gas, coal, wind, water, and solar.
The products from these on-site plants
included electrical power and the following
commodities: liquid  hydrogen, liquid
oxygen, and liquid and gaseous nitrogen.
A total of 19 technologies were considered
for energy and feedstock conversion,
generation,  and  storage,  including:
external combustion (boilers), steam
turbines, gas turbines, combined cycle
turbines, internal combustion (diesels),
gasification (coal), partial oxidation (oil),
steam reforming (natural gas), fuel cells,
electrolysis, air separation, solar central
receivers, solar photovoltaics, pumped
hydro storage, and wind turbines.
  The preceding concepts were considered
in the following applications: 1) continuous
production of electricity (with and without
capability  to  supply reliable  backup
power for completing  shuttle launches),
2) critical launch backup power,  3)
commodities production, and 4) production
of both commodities and electricity. After
evaluating  the  production options,  the
best systems were identified by consider-
ing technical risk, conversion efficiency,
environmental impacts, reliability, and
economics.

Conclusions
  The four major conclusions  of this
study are:
   1) Continuous electricity production
     Except as  noted below,  VAFB
       cannot produce its own electricity
       at a price competitive with pur-
       chased electricity. Fossil fuel
       based  systems for producing
       electricity  are  not economically
       viable due to their relatively small
       size and consequently their low
       conversion  efficiencies. Most
       non-fuel based systems, such as
       solar photovoltaics, are not econ-
       omically viable because of their
       high capital cost and relatively
       low operating factor. The economic
       viability of  electricity production
       at VAFB is also adversely affected
       by the  relatively  low value of
       electricity and  the relatively high
       cost of fuels at VAFB.
     Electric  power from  small wind
       turbines located on well-exposed
       ridgecrests in southern VAFB
       appears to be economically viable.
       Additional  study  is required to
       verify the available wind resource
       at VAFB, to provide a more detailed
       design  and cost analysis, and to
       determine the long-term reliability,
       operabilrty, and performance charac-
       teristics of a wind turbine system.
   2) Critical launch demand power
   Pumped hydro storage systems
    are the  lowest cost options for
    supplying critical launch demand
    power  at the shuttle  launch
    complex, unless more than about
    24 hours of pumped hydro storage
    capacity is needed. (Twenty-four
    hours of storage is about twice the
    11 hour duration of critical launch
    demands.) These storage systems
    could also be used daily for VAFB
    power  load  management.  Gas
    turbine and diesel  systems, the
    next best systems to meet critical
    launch demands, will be more
    costly than pumped hydro systems.
   Except for the possible  use  of
    pumped hydro storage in power
    load management, none  of the
    systems  considered to supply
    critical launch  demand power
    should be considered for continuous
    service. Continuous service could
    reduce system reliability, and the
    high fuel, operating and  mainte-
    nance  costs  make continuous
    service uneconomic.
3) Commodities production
   Because the USAF currently pur-
    chases liquid hydrogen on the
    West Coast at prices substantially
    below commercial market prices
    (50% discount),f/?ere is currently
    no incentive to produce liquid
    hydrogen on-site at VAFB.  This
    situation  is expected to continue
    as long as excess liquid hydrogen
    production capacity exists on the
    West Coast.  If the excess liquid
    hydrogen production capacity
    disappears, the USAF will probably
    have to pay commercial prices for
    liquid hydrogen. At that time, on-
    site production of liquid hydrogen
    (by the steam reforming of natural
    gas or the electrolysis of water)
    becomes economically attractive.
    It is not possible to predict when, if
    ever, the USAF would begin to pay
    commercial prices for liquid hydro-
    gen.
    The on-site production of liquid
    oxygen, liquid nitrogen, and gase-
    ous nitrogen by air separation is
    somewhat less expensive  than
    the continued purchase of these
    commodities.
4) Commodities and electricity produc-
   tion
   The use of a polygeneration con-
    cept, such as the  coal gasifica-
    tion/combined cycle turbine con-
    cept being  considered  at the
    Kennedy Space Center  (to pro-
    duce  electrical  power, liquid
       hydrogen, and gaseous nitrogen),   I
       is uneconomic at VAFB. At VAFB,
       polygeneration capacities  are
       small, electricity and liquid hydro-
       gen prices or values are low, coal
       costs are relatively high, and rel-
       atively more electricity (less  val-
       uable than liquid hydrogen) would
       be produced.
     Novel wind  turbine combinations
       (with electrolysis or air separation)
       are potentially attractive pending
       verification  of the wind resource
       at VAFB.
  Overall system evaluation and ranking
summaries shown  in Tables 1 through 3
are highlighted below.
   Despite the differences in basic unit
     reliabilities shown in Table 1 through
     3, by adding spare units, all systems
     except wind  turbines and solar
     systems can be designed to meet the
     reliability constraints that would al-
     low the on-time completion of shut-
     tle launches.
   Except for the steam  reforming of
     natural gas to produce liquid hydro-
     gen,  all  fossil fuel based  systems
     have negative ratings in at least two
     of the four major areas of evaluation
     (technical, economic, environmental,
     and reliability). The  most common   M
     negative ratings for fossil fuel based   
     systems are in  economic and environ-
     mental areas.  Systems featuring the
     gasification of coal  have  negative
     ratings in all four areas of evaluation.
   All non-fuel based  systems (wind
     turbines, solar photovoltaics, solar
     central receivers,  pumped hydro
     storage, air separation, electrolysis,
     and combinations of wind  turbines
     with air separation  or electrolysis)
     have positive or neutral ratings in at
     least  three of the  four  areas of
     evaluation. Air separation  systems
     have  positive ratings in  all four
     areas. Under  current trends, steam
     reforming and electrolysis to produce
     liquid hydrogen are negatively rated
     in  the economic area. But, if the
     USAF had to pay commercial prices
     for liquid hydrogen, steam reforming
     and electrolysis would be positively
     rated in the economic area as well.
     Solar photovoltaic systems have a
     negative rating  in  the  economic
     area, based  on  the current best
     estimates of costs for mature solar
     photovoltaic systems in 1992. Since
     much on-going research is aimed at
     reducing  the  costs  of photovoltaic
     cells and  systems,  the economic
     rating could  eventually change to
     positive.

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Table!.    Overall System Ratings
      System
                                               Areas of Evaluation
Technical*    Economic''   Environmental Reliability
 Electricity Production
 Boiler/Steam Turbine
   Natural gas
   No. 2 fuel oil
   No. 6 fuel oil
   Stoker coal
   AFBC

 Gas Turbine
   Natural gas
   No. 2 fuel oil

 Combined Cycle Turbine
   Natural gas
   No. 2 fuel oil
   No. 6 fuel oil (via
   partial oxidation)
   Coal (via gasification)

 Diesels

 Fuel Cells
   Natural gas (via
   steam reforming)
   No. 6 fuel oil (via
   partial oxidation)
   Coal (via gasification)

 Wind Turbines
 Solar Central Receiver
 Solar Photovoltaics
 Pumped Hydro

 Commodities Production
 Steam Reforming
 Oil Partial Oxidation
 Coal Gasification
 Air Separation
 Electrolysis
 Coal Gasification/Air
  Separation

 Commodities and Electricity
  Production
 Wind Turbines/Electrolysis
 Wind Turbines/Air Separation
 Coal Gasification/Combined
  Cycle Turbine
    +
    +
    0
    0
    +
    f
    0
    0
               -A"
                                          0
                                          0
                                          0
                                          0
                                          0
                                          0
                                          0
 0
 0
 0
 +
 +
                                          +
                                          0

                                          +
                                          +
0/+*
0/+f
 "+" denotes well developed, widely applied systems in a/I areas; "0" denotes systems whose
 components are well developed but commercial applications are few or do not exist; "" denotes
 systems with one or more components still in demonstration.
b"+" denotes positive net present value (NPV); "" denotes negative NPV.
c"+" denotes inherently clean system or system with minor emissions;"" denotes system which
 generates hazardous wastes and/or requires air emission offsets.
""+" denotes high single-unit reliability (95%); "0" denotes moderate single-unit reliability
 (90%); "" denotes low single-unit reliability  (85%).
e"-/+": "" under government LHz price trends, "+" under commercial LH2 price trends.
'"0/+" for wind turbines, "+" for electrolysis or air separation.
Recommendations
   The major project  recommendations
are  in the  areas  of:  1) continuous
electricity production, 2) critical launch
demand  power, 3) commodities produc-
tion, and 4) commodities and electricity
production.

   1) Continuous electricity production
      In the near term, continue to rely
       on power purchased from the
       utility grid.
      Perform more detailed evaluation
       of wind  turbine  systems. Verify
       wind  resource at locations on
       well-exposed ridgecrests in south-
       ern VAFB. Perform more detailed
       design  and economic  analysis.
       Purchase test wind turbines of
       ~200 kW (possible cost sharing
       with vendor) and perform testing
       to determine reliability, operability,
       and performance characteristics.
       Investigate potential for  interfe-
       rences with  communications.
       Investigate  combination with
       pumped  hydro storage to meet
       critical launch demands  and to
       smooth out production variations.
      Monitor  future developments in
       solar  photovoltaics, particularly
       with respect to capital investment
       costs.
      Consider in additional preliminary
       cost estimates coal systems larger
       than 50 MW; these systems have
       overall  conversion efficiencies
       much greater than the  small
       systems considered in this study.
       Excess power can be exported to
       the utility grid.
  2) Critical launch demand power
      Perform more detailed evaluation
       of pumped  hydro  storage with
       respect to site-specific construction
       design features at VAFB. Perform
       more detailed design and economic
       analysis.  Define  power duration
       requirements (12 vs. 24 hours or
       more). Perform  more detailed
       comparative analysis of pumped
       hydro, diesel, and  gas  turbines.
       Also,  further examine existing
       and alternate grid  power  supply
       reliability data for time between
       failures and time of repairs.
  3) Commodities production
      Perform  more  detailed  and cost
       studies  of  air separation  (for
       production of liquid oxygen, liquid
       nitrogen,  and  gaseous nitrogen).
       Although  it is  marginally feasible
       to produce these commodities on-
       site,  public  health and  safety
       concerns  over transportation of

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     cryogenics could provide an addi-
     tional incentive for on-site produc-
     tion.
   In the near term, continue to pur-
     chase liquid hydrogen from com-
     mercial suppliers.
   Monitor future trends in commer-
     cial and government liquid hydro-
     gen prices to anticipate escalation
     of liquid hydrogen  prices to
     commercial price levels.
4) Commodities and electricity produc-
   tion
   after  more detailed  investigation
     of wind turbine  systems (as  dis-
     cussed above), perform  detailed
     analysis of wind turbine systems
     in combination with electrolysis
     or air separation.
Table 2.    Most Attractive  Systems  for  Continuous  Production of Electricity and/or
           Commodities"
                                                  Areas of Evaluation
 System
Technical*1    Economic"   Environmental* Reliability*
Electricity Production
Wind Turbines
Solar Photovoltaics

Commodities Production
Steam Reforming
Air Separation
Electrolysis

Commodities and Electricity
 Production
Wind Turbines/Electrolysis
Wind Turbines/Air Separation
                                       0
                                       0
                                                   -A'
                                                    +
                                                   -A'
                                           0A9
                                           0/+9
 aSystems shown here are those systems from Table 1 which have at most only one negative or zero
  rating in the four areas of evaluation.
 b"+" denotes well developed, widely applied systems in all areas; "0" denotes systems whose
 components are well developed but commercial applications are few or do not exist.
 c"+" denotes positive net present value (NPV); "" denotes negative NPV.
 ""+" denotes inherently clean system or system with minor emissions.
 e"+" denotes high  single-unit reliability (95%);  "0" denotes moderate single-unit reliability
  (-90%).
 '"-" under government LHi price trends. "+" under commercial LH2 price trends.
 9"0/+":"0" for wind turbines, "+" for electrolysis or air separation.

Table 3.    Most Attractive Systems for Supplying Critical Launch Power Demand
                                                                                            Areas of Evaluation"
                                                 System
                                   Technical11    Economic0   Environmental  Reliability*
                                           Gas Turbine
                                             Natural Gas
                                             No. 2 fuel oil
                                           Diesel Engines
                                           Pumped Hydro
                                                    0
                                                    0
                                                    0
                                             0
                                             0
                                           aSystems shown here have lower capital costs than alternative systems such as gas-fired boiler/
                                            turbines. Positive ratings obviously indicate positive factors, while zero ratings indicate neutral
                                            factors, and negative ratings indicate negative factors.
                                           b"+" denotes well developed, widely applied systems in all areas.
                                           cFor systems supplying critical launch power demands  only,  the most important economic
                                            parameter is the total capital investment; because of their short hours of operation, operational
                                            costs are of lesser importance. The relative ranking of these systems varies with the set of design
                                            bases. The gas turbine systems would be the least expensive of the four options if: 1) pumped
                                            hydro alternatives were required to have capacities greater than 24 to 36 hours, and 2) diesel
                                            engine alternatives required multiple units to achieve the 95% reliability criterion. Based on a
                                            preliminary analysis, new diesel engines may be more reliable than gas turbines and thus could
                                            meet the 95% reliability criterion with single units. But if multiple diesel units were required,
                                            equivalent gas turbine systems would be less expensive.
                                           ""+" denotes inherently clean system or system with minor emissions. " "denotes system which
                                            generates hazardous wastes and/or requires air emission offsets.
                                           e"+" denotes high single-unit reliability (~95%).  "0" denotes moderate single-unit reliability
                                            (-90%).
                                                                                     U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1985/559-111/10775

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    P. Murin, K. Ferland. A. Jones, S. Husband, R. Leonard, and W. Thomas are with
      Radian Corporation, Austin, TX 78759.
    Robert C. Lagemann is the EPA Project Officer (see below).
    The complete report, entitled "Feasibility of Producing Commodities and Electricity
      for Space Shuttle Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base," (Order No. PB
      85-137 099; Cost: $23.50. subject to change) will be available only from:
            National Technical Information Service
            5285 Port Royal Road
            Springfield, VA 22161
            Telephone: 703-487-4650
    The EPA Project Officer can be contacted at:
            Air and Energy Engineering Research Laboratory
            U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
            Research Triangle Park, NC 27711
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Center for Environmental Research
Information
Cincinnati OH 45268
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