25 October 2006 — U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced the selection of nine projects totaling nearly $24 million aimed at developing innovative and cost-effective technologies to capture the carbon dioxide produced in coal-fired power plants so that it can be safely and permanently sequestered. Grant recipients will contribute nearly $8 million in cost-sharing for the program.
“Carbon sequestration promises to significantly reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions even as our economy grows. This combination helps protect the global climate, while promoting job creation and a high standard of living,” Secretary Bodman said. “The key to successful carbon sequestration is technology development, including technologies to capture greenhouse gases such as CO2 before they are released to the atmosphere.”
President Bush’s Global Climate Change Initiative calls for an 18 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas intensity — the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to economic output — by 18 percent by 2012.
DOE’s Energy Information Administration projects that fossil fuels provide 85 percent of the world’s energy, a proportion the will remain virtually unchanged over the next two and a half decades as world energy consumption doubles. Even with advances in energy efficiency and the switch to less carbon-intensive fuels, the result is expected to be a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions, from 25,028 million metric tons in 2003 to 43,676 million metric tons in 2030, and the potential for changes in the global climate.
The DOE’s Carbon Sequestration Program is managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Sequestration uses a variety of methods to remove greenhouse gases from power plant emissions or the air itself, and securely store those gases in geologic formations, soils and vegetation, or in other environmentally safe forms.
The newly selected projects will focus on three pathways to CO2 capture:
- Pre-combustion, in which fuel is gasified to form a mixture of hydrogen and CO2, called synthesis gas or syngas, and CO2 is captured from the syngas before it is combusted.
- Post-combustion, which involves capturing CO2 from flue gas after fuel has been combusted in air.
- Oxycombustion, in which fuel is combusted in pure or nearly pure oxygen rather than air, producing an exhaust mixture of CO2 and water that can easily be processed to produce pure CO2.
The projects — which total more than $31 million, including nearly $8 million in cost-sharing from the recipients — are described below:
- Carbozyme, Inc. (Monmouth Junction, N.J.) will evolve a second generation of their enzyme-based membrane design for capturing CO2 from the flue gas of coal-fired power plants. The technology has demonstrated high capture efficiency and low energy cost. (DOE share: $944,807; recipient share: $229,863; duration: 36 months)
- Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.) will develop a cost-effective, membrane-based process to separate CO2 from the flue gas of coal-fired power plants. They also intend to deliver condensed, high-pressure, supercritical CO2 to a pipeline for sequestration. (DOE share: $788,266; recipient share: $197,067; duration: 24 months)
- University of Akron (Akron, Ohio) will develop a highly efficient, low-cost CO2 capture system. Built on integration of metal monoliths, material synthesis and low-cost fabrication techniques, the researchers anticipate a breakthrough technology for the removal of CO2 from the flue gas of coal-fired power plants. (DOE share: $764,995; recipient share: $156,702; duration: 48 months)
- Carbozyme, Inc. (Monmouth Junction, N.J.) will design, construct, test, and demonstrate a simple, efficient, and readily scalable enzyme-based flue gas cleanup technology for CO2 capture and will demonstrate a method for reasonable-cost treatment of other pollutants to achieve near-zero emissions from pulverized coal power plants. (DOE share: $4,799,175; recipient share: $1,370,430; duration: 36 months)
- Praxair, Inc. (Tonawanda, N.Y.) will develop an oxycombustion process using an oxygen transport membrane to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plants. (DOE share: $4,742,780; recipient share: $2,553,806; duration: 36 months).
- Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) will expand on the process they have developed to capture CO2 from power plant flue gas using an inexpensive, dry, regenerable sorbent. (DOE share: $3,211,997; recipient share: $803,175; duration: 36 months)
- SRI International (Menlo Park, Calif.) will fabricate a technically and economically viable CO2-capture system based on a promising membrane material for pre-combustion-based capture of CO2. (DOE share: $4,047,695; recipient share: $1,036,159; duration: 36 months)
- University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Ind.) will focus on the development of a new liquid absorbent for efficient post-combustion capture of CO2 from coal-fired power plants. (DOE share: $2,214,590; recipient share: $793,861; duration: 36 months)
- UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.), a Honeywell Company, will develop a process that uses novel microporous metal organic frameworks having extremely high adsorption capacities for the removal of CO2 from coal-fired power plant flue gas. (DOE share: $2,238,171; recipient share: $559,543; duration: 36 months)