Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne receives $1 million award from U.S. Department of Energy to advance oxy-combustion technology

CANOGA PARK, Calif., Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and its team members $1 million to evaluate the benefits of pressurized oxy-combustion in a fluidized bed reactor to economically capture greenhouse gases emitted by coal-fired power plants.

As part of the award, which the DOE signed into contract today, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and its partners will contribute an additional $267,000 toward the project.  Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

“This is a significant award to advance the technology that could make the process of capturing greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants more economical,” said Neeta Patel, director of Energy Systems at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.  “The goal is to capture more than 90 percent of produced carbon dioxide with no more than a 35 percent increase in electricity costs.”

Oxy-fuel combustion is the process of producing heat to generate electricity by burning fuel using pure oxygen instead of air. The combustion process using pressurized oxygen and recycled carbon dioxide gas improves process efficiency and eliminates nitrogen from the exhaust, thus enabling the economic capture of the carbon dioxide gas for geologic sequestration or enhanced oil recovery.

The feasibility study is the first phase of the project. Upon completion of the study, the DOE will select participants for the second phase to support component development and testing in a pilot plant. Such a pilot plant would mature the technology for subsequent implementation of oxy-combustion in new coal plants and retrofitting it into existing plants. In addition to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, other team members working on the oxy-combustion technology project include Linde, LLC; the Electric Power Research Institute; The Pennsylvania State University; and Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.