DOE’s Carbon Sequestration R&D Program expands with addition of three university-sponsored projects
The three projects were selected in a broad competition run by the Energy Department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. They were submitted by:
* University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. Researchers in the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering will develop an alternative solvent that captures more carbon dioxide while using 25 to 50 percent less energy than conventional, state-of-the-art MEA (monoethanol amine) scrubbing, another CO2-removal method. Using less energy allows coal plants to produce more electricity while capturing and storing CO2. The university will develop and validate a process model to optimize solvent rate, stripper pressure and other parameters. Because gas/liquid contact and CO2 mass transfer would be enhanced, capital costs may be reduced.
* University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA, which proposes to study in a laboratory a deep-ocean CO2-sequestration method that blends liquid CO2, water and finely ground limestone into an emulsion that could be pumped into the ocean for long-term storage. Because this emulsion would weigh more than seawater, it would sink to the deep ocean. This would make it possible to CO2 at shallower depths than current directed-injection techniques. Soluble calcium bicarbonate, food for aquatic organisms, would be formed and stored in the ocean indefinitely.
* University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY. The University proposes to displace natural gas from black Devonian shales and use these organic-rich rocks to store CO2. Studies have shown that CO2 is preferentially adsorbed by gaseous coals in deep, unminable coal seams in very much the same manner that gas is naturally stored in these coals. In fact, CO2 displaces methane molecules two to one. The study will determine whether a similar phenomena takes place in Devonian black shales, which serve as both a source and a trap for natural gas.