Guest post by David Middleton
“The CDCL process is the most advanced and cost-effective approach to carbon capture we have reviewed to date and are committed to supporting its commercial viability through large-scale pilot plant design and feasibility studies. With the continued success of collaborative development program with Ohio State, B&W believes CDCL has potential to transform the power and petrochemical industries.”
Good thing the US still retains 88% (~280 GW) of its maximum coal-fired generating capacity (322 GW in 2001)…
A fossil fuel technology that doesn’t pollute
Process can use coal, shale gas and biomass while consuming carbon dioxide
By: Pam Frost Gorder
Published on January 02, 2018
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Engineers at The Ohio State University are developing technologies that have the potential to economically convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products including electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
In the first of two papers published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, the engineers report that they’ve devised a process that transforms shale gas into products such as methanol and gasoline—all while consuming carbon dioxide. This process can also be applied to coal and biomass to produce useful products.
Under certain conditions, the technology consumes all the carbon dioxide it produces plus additional carbon dioxide from an outside source.
In the second paper, they report that they’ve found a way to greatly extend the lifetime of the particles that enable the chemical reaction to transform coal or other fuels to electricity and useful products over a length of time that is useful for commercial operation.
Finally, the same team has discovered and patented a way with the potential to lower the capital costs in producing a fuel gas called synthesis gas, or “syngas,” by about 50 percent over the traditional technology.
The technology, known as chemical looping, uses metal oxide particles in high-pressure reactors to “burn” fossil fuels and biomass without the presence of oxygen in the air. The metal oxide provides the oxygen for the reaction.
Chemical looping is capable of acting as a stopgap technology that can provide clean electricity until renewable energies such as solar and wind become both widely available and affordable, the engineers said.
“Renewables are the future,” said Liang-Shih Fan, Distinguished University Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, who leads the effort. “We need a bridge that allows us to create clean energy until we get there—something affordable we can use for the next 30 years or more, while wind and solar power become the prevailing technologies.”
Five years ago, Fan and his research team demonstrated a technology called coal-direct chemical looping (CDCL) combustion, in which they were able to release energy from coal while capturing more than 99 percent of the resulting carbon dioxide, preventing its emission to the environment. The key advance of CDCL came in the form of iron oxide particles which supply the oxygen for chemical combustion in a moving bed reactor. After combustion, the particles take back the oxygen from air, and the cycle begins again.
The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W), which produces clean energy technologies for power markets, has been collaborating with Ohio State for the past 10 years on the development of the CDCL technology – an advanced oxy-combustion technology for electricity production from coal with nearly zero carbon emissions. David Kraft, Technical Fellow at B&W, stated “The CDCL process is the most advanced and cost-effective approach to carbon capture we have reviewed to date and are committed to supporting its commercial viability through large-scale pilot plant design and feasibility studies. With the continued success of collaborative development program with Ohio State, B&W believes CDCL has potential to transform the power and petrochemical industries.”
One minor correction:
Renewables are Nuclear is the future. We need a bridge that allows us to create clean energy until we get there—something affordable we can use for the next 30 years or more, while wind and solar nuclear fission and fusion power become the prevailing technologies.”
Of course, the important question is: What’s the bottom line? What impact would this have on the price of electricity? Otherwise, this sounds like very worthwhile research.