LGE/KU utilities, University of Kentucky project studying gas-fired carbon capture

carbon capture experiment
UK research student works on carbon capture experiment. Image credit CAER

Two Kentucky electric utilities will join with university researchers to develop carbon capture technologies for combined cycle gas turbine power plants.

Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities, both part of PPL Corp., announced a study partnership with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER). The group will work together to develop net negative-CO2 and cost-effective emissions technology directly applicable to gas-fired power generation facilities.

In addition to capturing CO2, the system will produce two value-added streams, hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2,) which can be sold to offset the cost of CO2 capture.

This study will explore extending equipment life and maximizing fuel efficiency by keeping the plant at a constant electricity generation rate by producing H2 /O2 during periods of low power demand.

“We’re proud to once again partner with UK CAER on groundbreaking research that has the potential to create meaningful advances in power generation,” said LG&E and KU Chief Operating Officer Lonnie Bellar. “Creating collaborations like this one and exploring technology and innovation that can make a difference for the industry and our customers is part of our commitment to helping shape the energy future of our Commonwealth and the nation.”

The first phase of this research project will take place in CAER’s laboratories, with the goal of eventually moving this technology to LG&E and KU’s Cane Run Generating Station in Louisville for pilot-scale testing.

The 640-MW Cane Run gas-fired plant was commissioned in 2015. It replaced  a coal-fired power plant which had operated at the same site for 60-plus years.

Numerous energy firms and utilities are working on in-progress or developing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects throughout the U.S. Some of these include NRG, Southern Co., Mitsubishi Power, Kiewit, Sargent & Lundy and Prairie State Generating, among others.

Some environmentalists have disputed the potential of the carbon capture efforts. Others are touting its ability to keep fossil-fired generation reliable as many utilities aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Allied Market Research has predicted that the CCUS market could more than triple to $7 billion by the end of the decade.

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