CO2-Consuming Fossil Fuel Combustion

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.”

The Ohio State University

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.

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January 3, 2018 1:41 pm

Such a waste of that wonderful plant food!

Reply to  kjdfkjdf
January 3, 2018 1:43 pm

Also such a waste of time, effort, money, brain power. There are so many real problems with our environment and we waste our time, effort, money, brain power on this.

Reply to  Kamikazedave
January 3, 2018 6:29 pm

But a creative solution that they came up with none the less!!!

Reply to  Kamikazedave
January 3, 2018 9:26 pm

Umm…they take shale gas add CO2 and convert it to gasoline. Nice, but once I burn the gas in my car aren’t we right back to where we were, but at a greater energy loss and treasure loss to these modern day alchemists.
This might become useful when we run out of other more efficient processes.

Reply to  kjdfkjdf
January 3, 2018 4:37 pm

It is simply impossible to get the energy from carbon-based fuels and then “take back” the CO2. Something is very amiss here. To claim that the metal oxides provide oxygen for burning and then they take the oxygen back? Their thermodynamics truly sucks here.

If anything this process uses most of the energy the carbon source could provide in undoing the product, CO2, of the process. It has to end up being a pathetic energy source. Their process is complex enough that many will not be able to see the bait and switch of their fantasy work around, as “There is No Free Lunch,” ever. They are saying there is.

Reply to  higley7
January 3, 2018 5:32 pm

higley7 – You are so right. How do you add oxygen to carbon through oxidation and not produce CO2 unless you are simply turning the hydrogen within to water (tiny bit of energy) and ignoring all the energy produced by the C + O2 = CO2 (lots of energy) without leaving a whole bunch of unburnt carbon behind. Show me the process and I guarantee there is a scam going on. Some idiots will believe anything – I just hope it isn’t the government satiating their scam.

Reply to  higley7
January 3, 2018 5:56 pm

gold oxide would work. 🙂

Reply to  higley7
January 3, 2018 9:27 pm

Unobtanium oxide is much better. 😉

Reply to  higley7
January 3, 2018 9:45 pm

If it is was I think it is, its a garbled reportage of something I was aware of a few years back – the use of metal oxides with coal to produce an almost pure carbon dioxide flue.

Essentially iron oxide in the presence of red hot coal will produce pure carbon dioxide and iron: then blowing air through the iron produces iron oxide and almost pure nitrogen.

That’s the closed cycle metal oxide process.

Presumably they have some other process that takes that CO2 flue gas, adds water and ends up with a hydrocarbon.

However, its all specious because when that hydrocarbon itself is burnt, its still releases the carbon. dioxide

Reply to  higley7
January 4, 2018 10:10 am

Perpetual motion by any other name, to paraphrase the bard.

Richard Bell
Reply to  higley7
January 4, 2018 11:21 am

I think the claim is that the heat liberates oxygen from the metal oxide to drive the combustion and the pressure prevents the CO2 escaping as a gas, so it can be captured (this suggests looking at a CO2 phase diagram to find a temperature and pressure that allows the CO2 to remain a liquid). The moving bed takes the reduced metals out of the furnace for the addition of more coal and the metal particles oxidize for the next pass into the furnace.

The size of the metal particles is a major concern. Larger particles have less surface area per unit volume and smaller particles are more prone to becoming a powdered metal fire than just oxidizing. The other potential pitfall that needs avoiding is sintering the metal particles together.

Other than as a way for iron smelters to also sell CO2 fire extinguishers, I do not see this as economically viable in any situation where competing technologies are not forbidden.

Reply to  higley7
January 5, 2018 10:04 pm

The proof of the pudding would be the total joules out from a given mass of coal using this process, compared with the total joules from doing it the old fashioned way. TANSTAAFL!

old white guy
Reply to  kjdfkjdf
January 4, 2018 5:44 am

interesting, but we don’t need to do anything about CO2.

Reply to  kjdfkjdf
January 7, 2018 2:50 am
D. J. Hawkins
January 3, 2018 1:44 pm

Ha ha! All they are doing is producing town gas! Welcome back to to the 1820’s!

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 3, 2018 9:45 pm

Yes. In essence that is pretty much it.,

January 3, 2018 1:46 pm

…and when and if they do all this…..what’s their excuse when temperatures keep rising?

Michael Keal
Reply to  Latitude
January 3, 2018 2:55 pm

…”and when and if they do all this…..what’s their excuse when temperatures keep rising?”
They’ve got that covered. My guess is they know only to well that temperatures are due to fall. Remember the “CC” in IPCC has been there from the beginning ready for use when natural variation took temperatures to their maximum. (The ‘pause’.)

When temperatures have dropped to the extent that data fiddling doesn’t work my guess is their next line will be “see it’s working’.

.As we all know Communist China produces ‘special’ carbon dioxide which unlike the Western variety is completely harmless. (They’re not wrong there. Clever the Chinese.).

If this is such a clever idea someone should suggest that China pursue this with them as a joint venture and pick up the development costs. We all know how keen they are to save the planet.

Reply to  Latitude
January 3, 2018 2:56 pm

One of two things will happen … either they’ll double-down and claim that it isn’t enough and things have gotten so bad that we have to scale back all uses of energy, or they’ll just change the adjustments they’ve been applying the last twenty years so they can say, “See? We were right all along!”

Reply to  Latitude
January 3, 2018 5:25 pm


Even worse. What happens to us all if temperatures do fall?

If we are the cause of global temperature rise, knowing that communities flourished during the MWP, and we successfully reverse the trend of warming, by how much must we have to cool the planet before it becomes disastrous?

And then how do we stop the cooling when it becomes catastrophically cold? By burning fossil fuels?

I read today on the BBC website that the average perception of Brits, of the paved over land mass of the UK is 47%. In other words, generally, British people believe 47% of the country is under concrete. The reality is that around 0.1% of the country is concreted. IPsos Moray poll. Even the usually left wing, catastrophe promoting BBC journalist was astonished at the level of ignorance.

I don’t believe that perception is confined to just stupid Brits, I suspect it’s commonplace amongst urbanised Westerners, which is undoubtedly where the poll was conducted.

Which then begins to make one wonder why stupid people are even allowed to vote. But that’s anti Capitalist, and I’m a fervent believer in Capitalism, freedom of the individual, and democracy.

So how doe’s society teach people to think critically? Examine the evidence? Question the theory? Embrace Kipling’s Six Honest Serving Men?

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

The Elephant’s Child

I can only hypothesise that our education systems are failing our children, and humanity. But I’m not even sure that’s true. Where do these utterly stupid people come from?

January 3, 2018 1:48 pm

By all means take the carbon out and some of the carbon dioxide produced if that helps but dont start delving into the current ppm of CO2 which as I can see before me has resulted in vigorous and sturdy growth.
Reducing CO2 this way can only end badly for everyone eventually. Think of the grandkids.

Reply to  birdynumnum
January 3, 2018 2:47 pm

all those flammable fuels were made from atmospheric C02 with the help of a little water and sunlight in the first instance. Burning it to release it’s CO2 is the ultimate form of recycling, returning CO2 to the atmosphere for the plants to repeat the cycle. What’s so bad about that?

But no, man has got to intervene and stuff the grand cycle, evolved over the last 500MY, right up. Typical.

The oceans regulate the amount of free CO2 anyway. It’s used by various animals to construct calcium carbonate shells which eventually settle to the bottom of the sea to form chalks and limestone. That’s mostly a one way trip. The ocean ph is regulated by precipitating Calcium Carbonates, formed by dissolved CO2, from solution. There is no coming back from that. Some billions of years in the future, life will cease when all CO2 is captured. It will be a lot sooner if these `carbon capture’ processes are used.

Murderers! Think of our great great great great …. great grandchildren!

Frankly, I like life. Life is a Gas: CO2: the Gas of Life.

Jerry Henson
Reply to  sophocles
January 3, 2018 6:29 pm

It is not “a one way trip”. Carbon is continuously being recycled. The carbonates
are subducted by tectonic plate action, some comes up in volcanoes, but most
is reprocessed at great depth and pressure and perks back up as hydrocarbons,
the ultimate in renewable energy,

Alan Robertson
Reply to  sophocles
January 3, 2018 8:05 pm

@Jerry Henson- that may be, but abiogenic hydrocarbon origins has little supporting evidence, (so far.)

Reply to  sophocles
January 4, 2018 6:12 am

abiogenic hydrocarbon
if fossil fuel originates from organic matter it should be more common near the surface. if it originates from limestone it should be randomly distributed in the crust.

are we finding less natural gas at depth or not?

January 3, 2018 1:52 pm

..and in related news

America’s Power Grid Is Showing Signs of Strain During Brutal Cold

” Restrictions governing air emissions are also a factor limiting their use.”

John M
Reply to  Latitude
January 4, 2018 9:04 am

…and the obvious solution is to decentralize power generation to eliminate transmission lines…

The opportunity is how.

John M
Reply to  John M
January 4, 2018 9:25 am

Happy New Year Latitude!

Jumping the Shark Response
The general public has difficulty remembering what they had for breakfast. All the innovative solutions, over the last several decades, are lost to the topic of the day.

Where are the Scribes of Yesteryear footnoting innovation lost in translation over time?

January 3, 2018 2:00 pm

They are calling CO2 “pollution.” Anti-scientific jerks. CO2 is the most benign of all substances, the beginning of the food chain for all life on earth, and its very modest warming effect is unambiguously benign under all plausible circumstances.

To portray CO2 as possibly dangerous alarmists have to portray water vapor feedback effects as extremely strongly positive when all direct evidence of these feedbacks is that they are small or negative (dampening rather than amplifying temperature forcings).

To claim high water vapor feedback effects the IPCC uses an invalid indirect method of estimation. The ASSUME that late 20th century warming was caused almost entirely by human increments to CO2 and then calculate what water vapor feedbacks would have to be for such a small forcing effect to induce the observed warming.

That is not science. Science thinks frontwards. You start with your best direct estimates of the operative processes and see what outcomes they would result in. You don’t start with your conclusion (late 20th century warming was caused by CO2) and pretend that this provides evidence for your conclusion in slightly different form (that water vapor feedbacks are strong enough for CO2 to account for late 20th century warming).

That is called “begging the question,” or “petito principii,” and is one of the most basic logical fallacies, the very essence of anti-science, an aggressive refusal to follow reason and evidence, substituting instead a pretense of reason, intended to fool the ignorant into thinking it is actual reason.

Reply to  Alec Rawls
January 4, 2018 6:41 am

an excellent paper on climate and begging the question. skip the first dozen paragraphs.

January 3, 2018 2:00 pm

Why do we want to reduce the gas that is both essential and beneficial to all life on earth?

January 3, 2018 2:04 pm

What happens to this idea when it becomes more widely realized that CO2 has no significant effect on climate?

Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 2:29 pm

pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 2:51 pm


Read the first paper. The first illustration says it all. They are simply creating town gas, which will get burned somewhere, so just shifting the location of the CO2 release.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 3:36 pm


Not really. They aren’t doing anything that you couldn’t do to coal plant flue gas with an amine-based solvent process. The products are CO and H2, the quintessential components of town gas. Unless they are intending to remove the CO somehow, which they don’t claim in the abstract, it’s going in the pipeline to get burned with the H2. Someone else can spring for the £42.50 to read the whole 5-page article. I can’t afford the spousal grief it would entail.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 4:21 pm

“While the hazards of AGW and Ocean “Acidification” have both been exaggerated by several orders of magnitude, the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere does work to lower the pH of seawater and does cause some increase in the average temperature of the bulk atmosphere.”

Is that neglecting outgassing due to the supposed warming?

“A doubling of atmospheric CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm, would lower the average pH of seawater from 8.30 to about 8.14. That’s not huge; but it would have some effect on sensitive marine calcifers, particularly in areas of upwelling.”

You have evidence of this? I don’t mean slinging a couple of crabs in a bucket of battery acid but actual marine evidence? Is this reflected in the fossil record of marine calciferous fauna over the geological periods when CO2 levels were in the thousands of ppm? Are there correlations of extinctions of those fauna during atmospheric CO2 shifts.

“While the annual human contribution to the carbon cycle is minuscule, it is cumulative because we are taking carbon out of geologic sequestration and putting it into the active carbon cycle in the form of CO2.”

Why is it cumulative? Could it not be that the geologically sequestered carbon now finds a home in previously CO2-starved increased biomass?

“If a process like CDCL can economically reduce the emissions of CO2 from coal and natural gas combustion, without degrading power plant efficiency, it’s worth looking into.”

If a single negative effect of CO2 can be demonstrated and a refutation provided of the demonstrable positive effects of CO2 then I suppose it is worth ‘looking into’. Until then it would seem to be nothing more than pandering to the carbon dioxide cult and a gross and idiotic waste of time and money.

R. Shearer
Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 4:31 pm

There is never a free lunch when it comes to thermodynamics. In this case, energy efficiency suffers in order to capture and compress CO2, just as in amine systems. For syngas production, though, the ability to produce it without significant nitrogen dilution is desirable for several chemical applications, as well as for generating electricity via a gas turbine.

Still it’s good engineering work, even if a major premise is flawed.

R Taylor
Reply to  Dan Pangburn
January 3, 2018 2:32 pm

Nothing. CO2 will always be carbon di-taxable.

David S
January 3, 2018 2:04 pm

Coal is mostly carbon. When you burn it you get carbon dioxide. The article says they use iron oxide instead of air to oxidize the carbon, but doesn’t explain how they get rid of the CO2. Sounds hokey to me.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David S
January 3, 2018 2:55 pm

They don’t get rid of the CO2. It’s a new take on steam reforming to create town gas, using iron oxide as an intermediate to transport oxygen into the reaction.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 3, 2018 3:38 pm

You don’t “burn” coal in a steam reformer either. Well, you do, but it’s a chemical reaction at elevated pressure and temperature, not and open flame in a steam boiler.

David S
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 3, 2018 4:36 pm

DJ you’re right about that. And when you burn the town gas you still get the CO2
David M wether you call it burning or reacting the result is the same: The carbon still reacts with oxygen to form CO2.

These two statements explain it:

“Carbon from the coal binds with the oxygen from the iron oxide and creates carbon dioxide, which rises into a chamber where it is captured “

“The carbon dioxide is separated and can be recycled or sequestered for storage.”

So they still produce CO2. And they still need to sequester it.

January 3, 2018 2:09 pm

Reduction in CO2 means reductions in employment and destroys people’s jobs. Plants everywhere are calling out for increased CO2 to avoid starvation. NASA photos show the Earth greening under increased CO2 and Warmistas have so far failed to show any proof that reduced CO2 means reduced temperatures. This project is interesting but basically futile.

January 3, 2018 2:21 pm

We need nuclear and not fossil fuels or renewables. We need molten salt thorium reactors that we can make on an assembly line like Boeing makes airplanes. (Boeing made over 700 planes last year). A company called Thorcon, has as it business model a 1 GWe nuclear reactor that is a scale up of the Oak Ridge Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Thorcon’s parent is a shipbuilding company in South Korea that makes some of the largest ships in the world at the rate of a bout 100 per year. Thorcon plans to make these 1GWe reactors, which are much smaller than ships at that same rate.

From these reactors we can make all the fossil fuel substitutes we need, desalinate sea water, burn up nuclear waste, and provide all of the world’s energy on 5,000 tons of thorium per year. We can explore the solar system with these reactors. There is enough thorium to last thousands of years, plus the moon has lots of it, Mars has it, as well as other moons and asteroids. We will not run out of this stuff.

All the energy you will ever use in your lifetime exists in about a 2 inch ball of thorium. So why keep destroying the planet with all this other nonsense.

Nothing else comes close to molten salt thorium reactors.

Reply to  davidgmillsatty
January 4, 2018 1:32 am

I agree with that direction. TMSR seems to me to be the best candidate for the future. I am just starting to become involved in its development professionally. In The Netherlands we have very good key facilities and expertise for investigating and solving the main challenges – e.g. the behaviour of nuclear fuel in molten salts under high neutron flux – to the degree that a “thorium valley” might arise here. See for an overview.

Thorcon – great stuff – I hope that an increasing number of investors will enable commercial initiatives in this area, and it is already happening.

They will invariably adopt the CO2 myth pragmatically as a rationale to go in this direction though!

Richard Bell
Reply to  davidgmillsatty
January 4, 2018 11:39 am

I think that gas-cored (NOT gas cooled) reactors are a better bet. With a gas core reactor, a combined cycle operation becomes possible with the first stage being a magneto-hydrodynamic cycle that exhausts the waste heat into a closed cycle gas turbine, which finally exhausts its waste heat into a steam generator for a steam turbine. The American Nuclear Society report suggested that the end-to-end thermal efficiency would be 70% with no technological breakthroughs, versus the 40% of a PWR.

The big deal of a gas core combined cycle unit is that it can be throttled. Putting something like a waste gate at each end of the gas turbine cycle and diverting the working fluid through a cooler will decrease the output of electricity before the power level of the core can change. By planning to run the combined cycle at a reduced efficiency allows for the electrical output to increase if demand rises without increasing the power level of the core.

Reply to  Richard Bell
January 5, 2018 12:43 am

Interesting that you mention the throttling ability as a big thing for the gas-cored reactor, since also this is one of the major features of a molten salt reactor: it will be a load follower.
So two remarks at this point:
1) Beneficial features of a THMSR: no long lived waste (<100 yr.), inherent passive safety, load following, low/no pressure (!), moderately high temperature enabling efficient Brayton cycle, extremely scalable, potentially modular, plentiful thorium supplies, much reduced proliferation issues; need I continue?
2) I would be interested to learn about the gas cored reactor; what would be a good source of information?

January 3, 2018 2:21 pm

plant some dam’n trees….

Reply to  Scott Frasier
January 3, 2018 2:29 pm

But there is no research money for for OSU’s chem e department if you do that.

January 3, 2018 2:22 pm

I suppose the end result is that they get less energy out of the fuel in exchange for absorbing CO2. There is no free lunch. It could be an incremental improvement over existing carbon capture efficiency, but then again that assumes that reducing CO2 is a worthwhile endeavor, and most here would say it isn’t.

R. Shearer
Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 4:37 pm

It becomes competitive economically only by disadvantaging those technologies that are inherently more efficient, sort of like the situation with scrubbers, i.e., regulations will have to drive the economics.

chris moffatt
January 3, 2018 2:24 pm

I guess the rats will eat the cats and the cats will eat the rats. Or maybe TANSTAAFL? Did these engineers graduate from Purdue by any chance – where the dean of engineering just announced that academic rigour is a white supremacist plot?

F. Leghorn
Reply to  chris moffatt
January 4, 2018 3:30 am

I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress long ago. Still one of my top ten books ever.

Reply to  chris moffatt
January 4, 2018 5:21 am

Wow, the implosion of Western intellectuals would be fun to watch if we weren’t stuck on the same ship with them.

January 3, 2018 2:25 pm

It is well known that iron oxide will release its oxygen to combine with excess carbon when hot enough. Its called iron ore smelting. Then you can add more oxygen to the molten iron to burn out residual carbon to produce low carbon iron, aka steel. You can even do both at the same time in a blast furnace using iron ore, coke, and LOX. The problem is these processes are large net energy consumers. Where does that energy come from? Pixie dust and unicorn farts are not viable answers for ‘clean energy’.
Putting the same issue differently, there is no way CO2 (a combustion end product after release of heat energy) can be used to produce any sort of combustible fuel to again release heat energy without adding significant energy back first. In photosynthesis, the new added energy is sunlight. Here??? The whole thing is net horsefeathers.

Reply to  ristvan
January 3, 2018 2:31 pm

LOL….TRUE….now stop sending this cold down here!

Reply to  Latitude
January 3, 2018 3:07 pm

L, I am presently in Fort Lauderdale ‘suffering’ like you in the Keys. Refugee from my place in Chicago, where itnis REALLY cold.

R. Shearer
Reply to  ristvan
January 3, 2018 4:48 pm

Yes, the basic mechanism needs to be net exothermic otherwise it won’t fly. One can find “renewable” processes that cheat by ignoring some energy inputs.

Anyway, this process is real. Whether it is ever deployed on a commercial scale depends on government mandates among other things.

BTW, for iron ore smelting, Lanzatech has biological processes to capture CO to make ethanol. It might be the only Khosla company in this space that makes sense.

R. Shearer
Reply to  R. Shearer
January 3, 2018 4:49 pm
David S
January 3, 2018 2:28 pm

OK I found this at Babcox and Wilcox’s website.
“The CDCL process uses a unique fuel reactor design where coal reacts with iron oxide-based oxygen carrier particles. The chemical reaction converts the coal to a concentrated stream of CO2 for use in enhanced oil recovery or for permanent storage, and reduces the iron-oxide.
The reduced oxygen carrier particles are re-oxidized in a second reactor where heat is liberated, which can be used to produce steam for the generation of electricity. B&W PGG’s experience in circulating fluidized bed and bubbling bed technology was utilized in the development of the commercial scale design. In Phase II, B&W PGG and its collaborators will test the CDCL process at a laboratory-scale.”

So as I read it they are reducing the volume of flue gas to be sequestered, which makes that process more feasible. Air is 78% nitrogen. In the combustion process the nitrogen goes through without reacting and increases the volume of flue gas by a huge amount. By using iron oxide instead of air they eliminate the nitrogen and consequently reduce the amount flue gas that must be sequestered.
At least that’s how I understand it.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David S
January 3, 2018 3:46 pm

OK, I see from your link that the heat is recovered when the iron oxide catalyst is regenerated, suggesting this is an exothermic process step. I wonder what the Gibbs Free Energy for the process is? My department adviser at Stevens said this was a way to measure the potential vs actual work you could get from a system. I also wonder what it the working fluid to deliver the heat from the fluidized bed to what I assume is eventually a steam turbine. And how do you efficiently deliver the heat to the working fluid? A bunch of rust particles bouncing around the outside of some tubes in the fluidized bed doesn’t sound like it works well.

R. Shearer
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 3, 2018 4:55 pm

Pressurized syngas can drive a gas turbine directly to produce electricity. Having a lower content of nitrogen improves its enthalpy. Yes, attrition of the iron oxide particles is important. Particles carried into the gas need to be removed by a cyclone (or two) and if they are too many and too small they cannot be, which will erode turbine blades.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David S
January 3, 2018 3:56 pm

I wonder what the process economics would look like if they ditched the CCS portion? One of the issues for coal plants is NOx emissions. By not carrying N2 into the process you eliminate that problem and the sensible heat carried away by the N2 or NOx at the top of the chimney, although that may not be significant.

R. Shearer
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 3, 2018 4:56 pm


Nick Stokes
Reply to  David S
January 3, 2018 4:41 pm

“So as I read it they are reducing the volume of flue gas to be sequestered”
Yes. Not just the nitrogen, but the excess oxygen. In fact, no separation needed at all. The idea is that FeO becomes the reductant instead of C. When it is used as fuel, it turns to solid Fe2O3. No gas, but not so good in an ICE either. But I think the FeO would have a lot less enthalpy of oxidation than the original C.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2018 5:09 pm

I did a quick scan, and it appear that:

C(s) + O2(g) → CO2(g) ΔH = -393.5 kJ/mol
(2)FeO(s) + (1/2)O2(g) → Fe2O3(s) ΔH = -280 kJ/mol

“Burning” FeO doesn’t get you the same bang per mol of product as burning C, but if you base it on moles of O2 consumed you get about 42% more energy out.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2018 6:44 pm

Yes, that seems right, but surprising. ! C should be compared with 4 FeO, and so as you say, the FeO has more enthalpy (560). So the oxidation of C with Fe₂O₃ should be endothermic.
C + 2Fe₂O₃→ CO₂ + 4FeO ΔH = 167.5 kJ/mol

Gary Pearse
January 3, 2018 2:38 pm

As engineers they should have given some idea of the cost of the electricity. Byproducts seem part of the economics. I have to remain sceptical when coal energy is the carbon content and to recover 99% of it seems to suggest we could keep recycling the same stuff forever without ever mining another ton (well,1 ton added per 100).Now that would make for cheap power, but isnt there a law against that?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 3, 2018 3:06 pm

Several. Physical laws, not congresscritter laws. See immediate above comment.

January 3, 2018 2:39 pm

Yawn. They’ve figured out how to create methanol and gasoline from shale gas while consuming carbon dioxide in the process. The carbon dioxide still gets released into the atmosphere when the methanol and gasoline are burned, if you care about that kind of thing.

R. Shearer
Reply to  stinkerp
January 3, 2018 4:58 pm

But if they use trees (from a managed forest or even pristine rain forest) that carbon is considered “renewable” and does not “count.”

michael hart
January 3, 2018 2:41 pm

Technologically interesting but what are the intended end uses? If the answer is “fuels” then the utility is less than zero gain because combustion will ultimately still mean that the carbon ends up as carbon dioxide somewhere else.

If the answer to the question is “plastics” then how does the overall cost compare with current petroleum-based synthesis? I would guess that the process might only become economic when the increasing scarcity of oil drives the price up far enough.

R. Shearer
Reply to  michael hart
January 3, 2018 5:07 pm

They have to sell the “renewable” part. Without mandates, it can’t compete.

If you really want to see stupid with regard to carbon capture, here it is:

Ian Macdonald
January 3, 2018 2:44 pm

Wind and solar are obsessions for the Greens. They are basically ideas that have been tried, and found to have fundamental issues. Time to move on. Advanced nuclear in some form or other will be the energy of the future, there is little doubt about that. We should set our sights on achieving that, since it is the best long term solution. .

Oldstyle nuclear, wind and solar or CCS are basically distractions from achieving that goal.

There are parallels with the way in which CFL lightbulbs were heavily promoted, when LEDs were only a few years away and a far superior product. Much money wasted. Hyping an inferior product just because it is available NOW, seldom works out well.

We see the same thing with battery powered cars being promoted like crazy, in spite of being a poor product for any purpose other than as a local runabout. The sensible course here is to investigate better approaches such as fuel cell technology. When we have a design that is as capable as the IC engine, THEN start promoting it is a replacement.

Somebody once said that the definition of insanity is to keep trying the same thing and expecting a different outcome. A more commonplace term would be flogging the dead horse.

Roger Graves
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
January 3, 2018 5:44 pm

“Wind and solar are obsessions for the Greens.”
I’d put this a different way. The Greens are being driven, largely without their knowledge, by an enormous industry which has spent $3 trillion on wind and solar so far, and is all set to spend another $10 trillion or more in the next twenty years. The constant harping on wind and solar as the only possible energy source for the future, when it has been shown to be a pathetic failure, is being driven by this industry. Don’t expect it to go away any time soon, there is serious money involved here, paid for by every electric power user in the world.

Money talks, and several trillion dollars screams.

Jerry Henson
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
January 3, 2018 6:53 pm

The first electric car was built ~1834. The IC killed it and they would not have
come back without subsidies. The IC is still the best answer for the US.

January 3, 2018 2:50 pm

Will this technology be able to compete with natural gas ( give ng price is so low ? ) I doubt it.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 3:01 pm

Well I hope they are successful, it will drive the greens crazy if coal makes a comeback.

Phil R
Reply to  David Middleton
January 3, 2018 5:52 pm

I hope they’re successful. Maybe the economic pressure will be enough for New York to rescind its ban on fracking.

January 3, 2018 3:24 pm

When you are in so far over your head, that the headhunters become a blur, it’s time to reevaluate your position (or at least fortify your defenses).
Just saying.

I’ll try to back ya.

Bruce Cobb
January 3, 2018 3:39 pm

Oh good grief. “Carbon capture” technology, no matter how “cost-effective” they call it is retarded because it is 100% unneccesary.

January 3, 2018 3:43 pm

I think it good and wise to do the research and learn everything we can but it may be foolish to implement such technology prematurely. Unless it is a break even proposition that allows for more efficient oil extraction, sort of like how the first two largest CCS projects in the world have been doing in Saskatchewan and Texas. Of course, after doing so in Sask, the Provincial Govt got no serious recognition for doing so and instead was hit by a crippling Carbon Tax of $50 a ton. So much for putting your money where your mouth is.

January 3, 2018 3:52 pm

“while wind and solar become the prevailing technologies” . i read to that point, laughed and stopped reading. more drivel from delusional rent seeking clowns.

Crispin in Waterloo
January 3, 2018 3:56 pm

The future energy source is the transmutation of elements. Renewables are cute an always will be.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 3, 2018 4:19 pm

It is as it ever was, “transmutation of elements”.
Now all we gotta do is stop the stupid religious wars, and the stupid racial wars, and of course the stupid wage wars and everyone will live in harmony.
That is what Heaven was built for, to see all those things come to fruition.

But, just in case, there are the boomers.

David S
January 3, 2018 4:12 pm

If they can convert that “concentrated stream of CO2” into CaCO3 (aka limestone) then it could be used for concrete. There it would serve a useful purpose and stay locked up forever. and it seems there are processes that could do that:
I like that idea and I don’t even believe in CAGW.

R. Shearer
Reply to  David S
January 3, 2018 5:13 pm

Here’s a crazy idea that creates CaCO3 as an intermediate.

January 3, 2018 6:06 pm

D J Hawkins dug out the actual equation – which I’ll take as correct, being too busy tonight to dig out my references.

Interesting thing, there is no reaction for “burning” the CO2 there?

The claim really looks like what they are saying is that FeO2 + C –> Fe + CO2, and then Fe + CO2 –> FeO2 + C. That somehow you end up with net energy. Right…

Be nice if it worked, though; we could use the perpetual chemical reaction to power our perpetual motion Dean Drive and get away from the nutcases… (Or maybe build a ship for getting rid of them; we’ll keep the telephone handset sanitizing technicians and hairdressers this time around.)

January 3, 2018 6:51 pm

The two proposed reactions aren’t really useful unless they’ve discovered some new catalysts and petatons of iron oxide. There’e likely a pathway fromFeO and CO2 to FeCO3 and some energy. It involves a lot of mass handling of solids though, an a pretty small energy release.
The methane + CO2 appears to some sort of Fischer-Tropsch variant. I would produce methanol and various other partially oxidized carbon molecules, possibly ethylene glycol, ethanol, and other similar stuff. It might be used to produce liquid fuels directly from coal and/or methane, although a good deal of the carbon would end up as CO2 in the gas stream in order to provide energy alcohols of various sorts. We’d still end up with CO2 from using the carbon compounds as fuel, plus the fuel used to provide the reaction energy. We really aren’t desperate for oil and gas right now like Germany was in WW-II!

January 3, 2018 6:56 pm

“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.”

That’s nothing. I came home today with 2 reams of A4 ‘carbon neutral’ copy paper so beat that carbon minimisers.

January 3, 2018 9:21 pm


Why do you continue with this? The Climate Sensitivity cannot be calculated from first principles. I know, because I tried, it cannot be done. The assumption that all warming since 1880, or whenever, is due to CO2, is simply unscientific due to natural variability.

Do not give these people credence. No one knows what Climate Sensitivity is, and no one can calculate it from first principles.

Just stop. Tell all your friends Willis, Monckton, and all others, just stop.

Credence for a calculation which is in-defensible from First Principles is un-scientific, no one should do it.

Including you Stokes, and you Mosher.

It is all due to a hatred of mining. Mining has created the prosperity we now enjoy.

What are you people attempting to do???

Prosperity is rather nice, just stop.


Loren Wilson
January 3, 2018 9:22 pm

Here’s the overall reaction from their 2008 project overview:

Step I: Coal + Fe2O3 (Hot) –> Fe/FeO + H2O + CO2

Step II: Air + Fe/FeO –> Fe2O3 (hot) + spent air (to boiler)

The iron/iron oxide is recycled. As you can see, plenty of CO2 is made. Actually, exactly the same amount as would be produced by ordinary combustion. Their actual claim is that the CO2 from the first step is easily captured since it is nearly pure (not diluted with oxygen or nitrogen as is the case with combustion). I don’t see where they address the effect of all the other gasses that are going to be produced in this process. Plenty of sulfur in coal to react with the iron and ruin the reaction. Also, how hot is the reaction? Is it as efficient as conventional combustion in a coal-fired boiler? Some of the tests show reaction temperatures from 900 to 1000°C, but it is not clear whether this translates into steam of suitable temperature and pressure. They do give some economic predictions but not a lot of supporting data.

January 4, 2018 5:02 am

If it sounds too good to be true……

January 4, 2018 5:30 am

A useless technology since it greatly reduces the efficiency and scale of power plants.

Coach Springer
January 4, 2018 5:59 am

The lost me at the word “pollution.”

January 4, 2018 7:17 am

while wind and solar power become the prevailing technologies.”

Another over optimistic idiot. More belief than sense.

January 4, 2018 9:37 am

Burying CO2 means that for every carbon atom interred, two oxygen atoms are also interred. Absolute nuts.

January 4, 2018 1:35 pm

Spare a thought for US coal miners. The mortality rate has doubled in the last year while hundreds are laid off.

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