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Battelle receives $2 million award to test energy efficient carbon capture

New process could save coal-fired power producers 50% of total costs over current treatment systems

August 25, 2011 Share This!

Issued by Battelle

  • Battelle was awarded $1.99 million from the Department of Energy to study how cost-effectively a new carbon dioxide capture process can work to pull greenhouse gases out of power plant emissions.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – Battelle researchers based in Richland, Wash., have been awarded nearly $2 million from the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory to study how well a new carbon dioxide capture process can work to pull greenhouse gases out of emissions from coal-fired power plants. Scientists estimate the new process is estimated to save more than 50% of total costs over current emissions treatment options.

During the three year project, Battelle scientists will work with the Fluor Corporation and Queens University to evaluate the advanced carbon dioxide capture system, called Polarity Swing Assisted Regeneration, or PSAR. Developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is operated for DOE by Battelle, the PSAR process uses organic liquids to capture and separate out the carbon dioxide from flue gas at a much lower temperature than the process currently used in coal-fired power plants. That process, called thermal swing regeneration, requires significant power to heat, boil and cool harsh chemical sorbents in a series of steps to remove the CO2 from the flue gas.

Much less power is required to complete the PSAR process.

"A key distinction of PSAR is that the process makes efficient use of heat from the power plant rather than using valuable steam, to operate the carbon dioxide capture process, saving power producers energy and money," said David Heldebrant, Battelle senior research scientist. "This not only improves the efficiency of the overall process but also simplifies the use of this process as a retrofit to an existing pulverized coal power plant."

In previous work, Heldebrant and his team have found that the recyclable organic liquids used in the process, called CO2BOLS, have the capability to capture the same amount of gases-per-weight over existing treatment sorbents with much less energy. The CO2BOLS also are recyclable and environmentally friendly, and scientists estimate power producers could realize an even greater cost benefit, over time, due to lowered cost of materials and a decreased rate of decomposition of the liquid.

"This could be a very effective way for power producers to reduce their environmental footprint and realize some major cost benefits," said Heldebrant.

Battelle will lead the collaborative team on the project. Work will begin this fall.

PNNL playing role in three additional carbon capture research projects*

Researchers at PNNL will collaborate with partners on three additional carbon capture research projects during the next three years. These projects also received funding from DOE's Office of Fossil Energy on August 25

PNNL will receive $490,000 to work with Novozyme, the University of Kentucky and Doosan Power to research how effectively a new ultrasonic technology reduces the amount of energy required to separate carbon dioxide from a solvent.

PNNL will receive $600,000 to work with companies Fuel Cell Energy and URS to evaluate the performance of a new technology called Direct Fuel Cells in a carbon dioxide separation application. 

PNNL will receive $65,000 to perform an environmental health and safety evaluation of new sorbents produced by InnoSepra, in conjunction with the Electric Power Research Institute.

*Release amended on Sept. 22 to include this additional information.


About Fluor Corporation
Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) designs, builds and maintains many of the world's most challenging and complex projects. Through its global network of offices on six continents, the company provides comprehensive capabilities and world-class expertise in the fields of engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and project management. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Fluor is a FORTUNE 200 company and had revenue of $20.8 billion in 2010.


About Queens University
Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario is one of Canada's oldest degree-granting institutions and has influenced Canadian higher education since 1841. Queen's hosts more than 25,000 researchers, scholars, artists, professors and students from around the world and supports them in their learning, thinking, and discovering.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Emissions, Carbon Capture and Sequestration

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. Battelle has managed the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., since the laboratory's inception in 1965.

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