Recovery Act boosts carbon capture research and development

Washington, D.C., September 7, 2010 — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the selection of 22 projects that will accelerate carbon capture and storage research and development for industrial sources.

Funded with more than $575 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, these R&D projects complement the industrial demonstration projects already being funded through the Recovery Act.

This program supports the president’s goal of cost-effective deployment of carbon capture and storage within 10 years and helps to position the U.S. as a leader in the global clean energy race.

“This is a major step forward in the fight to reduce carbon emissions from industrial plants. These new technologies will not only help fight climate change, they will create jobs now and help position the U.S. to lead the world in clean coal technologies, which will only increase in demand in the years ahead,” said Secretary Chu.

The selections include projects from four different areas of carbon capture and storage research and development: 1) Large scale testing of advanced gasification technologies; 2) advanced turbo-machinery to lower emissions from industrial sources; 3) post-combustion CO2 capture with increased efficiencies and decreased costs; and 4) geologic storage site characterization.

Large Scale Testing of Advanced Gasification Technologies — $312 million

The DOE is awarding $312 million from the Recovery Act for expanding three advanced projects to accelerate the development of industrial carbon capture and storage technologies at large-scale.

These projects support the DOE’s goal of developing industrial facilities with near-zero emissions by reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of capturing CO2.

The projects will accelerate the technology development by conducting tests at larger prototype, engineering scales. Following successful completion, these advanced technologies will be ready for scale-up to commercial size.

One of the projects being funded is:

* Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (Allentown, Pa.) — Development of Ion Transport Membranes Oxygen Technology for Integration with Advanced Industrial Systems

Air Products will accelerate commercial manufacture of ion transport membranes modules and initiate the development of a 2,000 tons per day pre-commercial scale facility ahead of schedule, enabling this technology to enter the marketplace at least two years earlier than previously projected.

The ITM technology will produce oxygen at higher efficiencies and at lower capital and operating costs than cryogenic oxygen production systems, benefitting domestic oxygen-intensive industrial processes in terms of cost, efficiency, and productivity improvements, such as those involved in the making of aluminum, glass, and steel via the use of this advanced technology.

Successful development of ITM will also lower the cost of oxy-combustion configurations, enabling lower cost CO2 capture. This project will receive $71.7 million in funding.

Advanced Turbo-Machinery to Lower Emissions from Industrial Sources — $123 million

These four projects will develop turbo-machinery and engines that will help improve carbon capture and storage when applied to industrial processes. The projects will integrate with carbon capture in industrial-based systems to optimize CCS.

One of the projects being funded is:

* Ramgen Power Systems (Bellevue, Wash.) — Ramgen Supersonic Shock Wave Compression and Engine Technology

This additional project expansion will focus on incorporating the supersonic compression technology into an engine.

By following a dual track development on the compressor for applications of CO2 compression only and incorporation into an engine that can run with oxygen and fuel, producing a high concentration of CO2 for subsequent supersonic compression, the technology risk is greatly reduced leading to a higher potential of success for the base compressor design and its ability to be used in industrial CCS applications.

Thus, this project will demonstrate the compression technology in an engine versus a conventional CO2 compression process. Because this technology has more than one purpose, we are able to gain valuable knowledge about scaling up this compression technology. This project will receive $30 million in funding.

Post-Combustion CO2 Capture with Increased Efficiencies and Decreased Costs — $90 million

Five projects will develop advanced technologies for carbon dioxide capture for industrial systems and also application to power plants. These projects will advance CO2 capture technologies with increased efficiencies and decreased costs that can be applied as part of an integrated carbon capture and storage system.

The DOE is developing these advanced CO2 capture technologies to ensure that CCS can be an affordable and efficient greenhouse gas emission mitigation strategy for both the industrial and utility sectors.

One of the projects being funded is:

* Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.) — Pilot Testing of a Membrane System for Post-Combustion CO2 Capture

Membrane Technology and Research and partners will demonstrate a membrane process to separate CO2 from industrial- and utility-scale processes including boilers, cement manufacturing, steel and aluminum production and chemical refining.

MTR will design, construct and test a 1 MWe equivalent gas flow membrane skid capable of 90 percent CO2 capture from a slipstream of coal-fired flue gas.

A six-month field test using the test skid will be conducted at Arizona Public Service’s (APS) Cholla Power Plant. Additionally, a small slipstream test will be performed at the National Carbon Capture Center to validate membrane performance.

This project will provide sufficient performance data to allow a thorough technical and economic evaluation of the membrane capture process and will verify the relative potential of this approach. This project will receive $15 million in funding.

Geologic Storage Site Characterization — $50 million

The 10 projects previously selected under ARRA funding will be expanded to increase the scientific understanding and locations of geologic formations for safe and permanent carbon dioxide storage from industrial sources.

With the added funding of $50 million from the Recovery Act, these projects will support the goals of helping reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, developing and deploying near-zero-emission coal technologies and making the U.S. a leader in mitigating climate change.

Projects in this category will collect data to determine the potential to store large volumes of CO2 in geologic formations; provide support to augment the National Carbon Sequestration (NATCARB) database through support of state geologic surveys and other research institutions; and participate in technical working groups on best practices for site characterization and approving storage site selection.

One of the projects being funded is:

* University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas) — Gulf of Mexico Miocene CO2 Site Characterization Mega Transect

The University of Texas at Austin will conduct a regional evaluation of storage opportunities in Miocene aged formations with a focus on specific reservoirs once identified.

The project will lease currently available regional 3D seismic data and acquire a new seismic acquisition system (P-Cable) that is optimized for ultra-high resolution 3D and 4D seismic imaging of shallow and mid-range depths to allow detection of shallow structural features.

Both types of data will help to develop baseline assessments of the target formations to measure and monitor their characteristics and validate them for future industrial CCS injection operations. This project will receive $5 million in funding.


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