DOE awards money to 16 projects to advance CO2 control for power plants

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected 16 projects to receive funding through its Carbon Capture Program, with these projects involving the development and testing of transformational CO2 capture systems for new and existing coal-based power plants.

Research funded by this program is expected to help overcome limitations of singular, standard gas treatment systems, such as those based on solvents, sorbents, or membranes alone, DOE said in an Aug. 13 announcement. Projects being funded fall under five subtopic areas:

Lab-Scale, Post-combustion Capture

Energy Efficient Membrane–Based “Hybrid” Hybrid Process for Post-combustion CO2 Capture – Researchers at Gas Technology Institute (Des Plaines, IL) – with the University of South Carolina, PoroGen Corp. (Woburn, MA) and Trimeric Corp. (Buda, TX) – will combine a graphene oxide (GO) membrane unit with the polyether ether ketone (PEEK) hollow fiber membrane contactor (HFMC) process. The HFMC process is a hybrid membrane/absorption process, so the proposed technology is a “hybrid” hybrid process, called the GO-PEEK Hybrid2 process. This project will last for 36 months. Cost: DOE: $2,000,000; Non DOE: $526,025; Total Funding: $2,526,025.

Enabling 10 mol/kg Swing Capacity via Heat Integrated Sub-ambient Pressure Swing Adsorption – Researchers at Georgia Tech Research Corp.(Atlanta, GA) and Inmondo Tech (Atlanta, GA) will develop polymeric fibers with embedded metal organic framework particles for testing in a sub-ambient, rapidly-cycled pressure swing adsorption system. A material with a melting/freezing point equivalent to the system operating temperature will melt as heat is released and freeze as CO2 is desorbed, so no steam or cooling water is required. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,988,714; Non DOE: $502,769; Total Funding: $2,491,483.

Development of a Hybrid Capture System with Advanced Membrane, Solvent System, and Process Integration – Researchers at Liquid Ion Solutions LLC (Pittsburgh, PA) – with Penn State University and Carbon Capture Scientific LLC (South Park, PA) – will develop and test a hybrid membrane/absorption process that combines a polyphosphazene polymer-based mixed-matrix membrane unit and a CO2 absorption process. The novel membranes will be synthesized by controlling the interface between the polymer and inorganic particles. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,919,519; Non DOE: $479,880; Total Funding: $2,399,399.

Electrochemically Mediated Sorbent Regeneration in CO2 Scrubbing Processes – Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Alstom Power (Knoxville, TN) will advance a novel, electrically driven CO2 capture technology that uses cost-effective metal ions to reversibly mediate the capture and release of CO2 by traditional amine solvents. The electrochemically mediated capture technology eliminates the need for process steam, significantly reducing the cost of retrofit to existing power stations and industrial emitters. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,202,056; Non DOE: $310,601; Total Funding: $1,512,657.

Development of a Solid Sorbent for CO2 Capture Process for Coal-Fired Power Plants – Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle Park, NC) will evaluate the performance of two, third-generation fluidizable solid sorbents—hybrid-metal organic frameworks and hybrid-P-dendrimers—for incorporation in their sorbent-based, fluidized-bed CO2 capture process. Researchers will synthesize, test, and show the potential for rapid scale-up of the two novel sorbent formulations. This project will last 24 months. Cost: DOE: $1,591,532; Non DOE: $397,883; Total Funding: $1,989,415.

Evaluation of Amine–Incorporated Porous Polymer Networks as Sorbents for Post-combustion CO2 Capture – The research team at Texas A&M University – with Advanced Clean Energy Solutions LLC (Highlands Ranch, CO) and framergy Inc. (College Station, TX) – will advance the development of amine-incorporated porous polymer networks (aPPNs) for low-energy selective capture of CO2 from flue gas. aPPNs are novel porous sorbents that can be fine-tuned through the incorporation of amine groups. The team intends to conduct lab-scale testing of the integrated process on actual coal-derived flue gas. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,446,086; Non DOE: $361,522; Total Funding: $1,807,608.

Development of a Novel Biphasic CO2 Absorption Process with Multiple Stages of Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation for Post-Combustion Carbon Capture – Researchers at the University of Illinois and Trimeric Corp. (Buda, TX) will develop biphasic solvents that form dual liquid phases, with the absorbed CO2 concentrated in one phase and lean in the other. The novel process will maximize absorption kinetics and minimize the increase in solvent viscosity, reduce the mass required for solvent regeneration, and achieve high-pressure CO2 desorption. The project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,999,996; Non DOE: $501,052; Total Funding: $2,501,048.

Hybrid Encapsulated Ionic Liquids for Post-combustion CO2 Capture – The University of Notre Dame and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) will collaborate to test the use of hybrid encapsulated ionic liquid (IL) and/or phase-change ionic liquid (PCIL) materials for post-combustion CO2 capture. The team will combine Notre Dame’s IL/PCIL materials and Lawrence Livermore’s micro-encapsulated carbon sorbents to form high surface area materials engineered for high-efficiency CO2 capture by surmounting the mass transfer barriers caused by high viscosities. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,999,576; Non DOE: $699,830; Total Funding: $2,699,406.

Lab-Scale, Pre-combustion Capture

Sorption Enhanced Mixed Matrix Membranes for H2 Purification and CO2 Capture – Researchers at the University of Buffalo (Buffalo, NY) – with Membrane Technology and Research Inc. (Newark, CA) and Helios-NRG LLC (Amherst, NY) – will develop mixed matrix membrane systems comprised of highly cross-linked polymers with strong size sieving ability and palladium-based nanomaterials for H2/CO2 separation. Field testing will occur at the National Carbon Capture Center (Wilsonville, AL) with real syngas. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,884,877; Non DOE: $472,980; Total Funding: $2,357,857.

Combined Sorbent/Water-Gas Shift–Based CO2 Capture Process with Integrated Heat Management – Southern Research (Durham, NC) – with IntraMicron Inc. (Auburn, AL), Clariant (Charlotte, NC), and Nexant (San Francisco, CA) – will develop a combined magnesium oxide–based CO2 sorbent/water-gas shift reactor for process intensification and CO2 capture at warm gas conditions. Using a dual-bed arrangement, the sorbent will be regenerated periodically by a combination of pressure and temperature swing. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,962,191; Non DOE: $490,548; Total Funding: $2,452,739.

A High-Efficiency, Ultra-compact Process for Pre-combustion CO2 Capture – Researchers at the University of Southern California – with University of California, Los Angeles, and Media and Process Technology Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA) – will develop a membrane- and adsorption-enhanced water-gas shift reactor that employs a carbon molecular sieve-based membrane and a baseline hydrotalcite-based adsorbent. The adsorbent will regenerate via a temperature swing adsorption operation. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $1,520,546; Non DOE: $388,472; Total Funding: $1,909,018.

Bench-Scale, Post-combustion Capture

Testing of Next-Generation Hollow Fiber Membrane Modules – Researchers at American Air Liquide Inc. (Newark, DE) and Parsons Government Services (San Antonio, TX) plan to continue development of a novel polyimide-based membrane material (PI-2) for application in Air Liquide’s hybrid CO2 capture process. The process combines cold membrane operation with an integrated CO2 compression and purification unit to significantly reduce the overall cost of capture. Field testing will occur at the National Carbon Capture Center with real flue gas. This project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $3,000,000; Non DOE: $859,214; Total Funding: $3,859,214.

Development of a Non-aqueous Solvent CO2 Capture Process for Coal-Fired Power Plants – Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle Park, NC) – with SINTEF (Trondheim, Norway) and Linde LLC (Murray Hill, NJ) – will test a non-aqueous solvent (NAS)-based CO2 capture process using actual coal-derived flue gas at a SINTEF pilot plant facility. The NAS development involves several amine-based NAS formulations and represents a disruptive advance in CO2 capture to meet DOE’s mission to lower the cost associated with reducing CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The project will last 30 months. Cost: DOE: $2,705,013; Non DOE: $931,990; Total Funding: $3,637,003.

Bench-Scale, Pre-combustion Capture

Zeolite Membrane Reactor for Pre-combustion Carbon Dioxide Capture – Researchers at Arizona State University – with Media and Process Technology Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA), University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) and Nexceris (Lewis Center, OH) – will develop a hydrogen semi-permeable zeolite membrane reactor with an MFI-type support for water-gas shift with CO2 capture. Field testing will occur at the National Carbon Capture Center with real syngas. The project will last 36 months. Cost: DOE: $2,257,933; Non DOE: $570,527; Total Funding: $2,828,460.

Biological CO2 Use/Conversion

A Microalgae–Based Platform for the Beneficial Reuse of CO2 Emissions from Power Plants – The research team at University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY) – with University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (Newark, DE) and ALGIX LLC (Meridian, MS) – will study microalgae-based CO2 capture with conversion of the resulting algal biomass to fuels and bioplastics. Scenedesmus acutus algae will be cultured in an innovative cyclic-flow photobioreactor; the algae will be harvested and dewatered using a University of Kentucky technology based on flocculation (a process where fine particles clump together)/sedimentation/filtration. The project will yield a conceptual design for an algae-based CO2 capture system suitable for integration with a coal-fired power plant. The project will last 24 months.   Cost: DOE: $990,480; Non DOE: $266,935; Total Funding: $1,257,415.

Microalgae Commodities from Coal Plant Flue Gas CO2 – MicroBio Engineering Inc. (San Luis Obispo, CA) will integrate microalgal production systems into the Orlando Utilities Commission‘s Stanton Energy Center coal-fired power plant in Florida and study their ability to use and mitigate CO2 emissions from flue gas. Experimental work at the plant and the University of Florida, Gainesville, will test the growth of native microalgae under local conditions with actual flue gas and pure CO2. Other partners include Arizona State University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla, CA), Life Cycle Associates LLC (Portola Valley, CA), and SFA Pacific Inc. (Palo Alto, CA). The project will last 24 months. Cost: DOE: $863,327; Non DOE: $282,640; Total Funding: $1,145,967.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.