Archive for February, 2010

Deep Saline co2 Storage Research at CO2CRC Otway Project

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

New research on deep saline storage will soon be underway at the CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia’s only CO2 geosequestration research and demonstration facility.

“The CO2CRC Otway Project has safely injected and stored over 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide two kilometres underground in a depleted gas field, demonstrating that stored carbon dioxide can be effectively monitored,” said Dr Peter Cook, Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC).

“Over the past year, researchers have been able to produce an accurate picture of the stored carbon dioxide as part of the project’s rigorous monitoring and verification program. The work has lead to new techniques that can be highly useful to commercial-scale projects in the future.”


Ionic Solutions for Carbon Capture – ION Engineering

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

ION Engineering has developed technology that could be used to economically remove CO2 and other contaminants from fossil fuel power plant emissions and raw natural gas.

According to ION Engineering, until now the state-of-the-art in current emissions control technology was the inefficient, aqueous (water-based) amine technology, but a breakthrough has seen the company become the first to successfully integrate ionic liquid solutions into carbon capture and emissions control technology by replacing the water based solution with ionic liquids – molten salts that do not evaporate. The company says that while recent developments in carbon capture technology have brought costs of carbon capture down to $50 to $100 a ton, its ionic liquid technology could cut the costs of capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants to as low as $20 a ton. This reduction is cost is mainly due to the fact that around 80% of the total cost of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) comes from the capture of CO2 – the very area that the company’s system focuses on.


At Longannet Plant, ScottishPower Claims Breakthrough in Carbon Capture

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

ScottishPower claims to have made a breakthrough in reducing the amount of energy required to separate carbon emissions at its coal-fired Longannet Power Station.

The testing at Longannet to assess the performance of the amine capture plant under a range of operating conditions has been underway since May this year.

Employing a mixture of process improvements and low energy solvents, technicians from ScottishPower and partner company Aker Clean Carbon say they has managed to reduce energy consumption by around a third.

Testing will continue for some more time, but the company believes the technology is ready for a full-scale demonstration.


Solar Thermal Retrofitted to Coal Power in NSW, Australia

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

New South Wales, Australia is the site of a pilot project where solar thermal technology reduces the use of fossil fuels. Coal and solar generate electricity using the same turbines.

Coal power plants can utilize solar to produce 15%-60% of the electricity. A higher quantity is possible, but requires significantly more modifications to be made to the coal boilers.

Mirrors, called Fresnal reflectors capture the sun’s rays and heat water in the tube above. Steam lines deliver the solar energy to the adjacent coal power plant where existing coal turbines are used to produce an electric current.

The ideal situation for retrofitting a coal power plant with solar includes:
* A large amount of land adjacent to the plant is neededfor solar collectors.
* High quantities of solar radiation.
* Coal power plants that are located in areas with a carbon tax or cap and trade system in place will have a higher return on investment from a solar retrofit.

“There’s a real dilemma facing operators of coal powered plants,” said John O’Donnell, Ausra’s Executive Vice President. “The price of coal has exploded recently and it continues to rise rapidly. Long-term coal contracts are coming in at 4 times the price of the last iteration of the contract.”

Australia recently ratified the Kyoto Protocol and will begin trading carbon in about a year. Carbon is likely to trade for $30-$60 per ton, according to John O’Donnell. Ausra’s solar thermal retrofits are cost effective around $30 a ton.


Atmospheric Carbon CapturE SystemS (ACCESS) Captures CO2 from Air

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

The Atmospheric Carbon CapturE SystemS (ACCESS) Air-Capture System, developed by Global Research Technologies in Tucson, Ariz., holds sheets of material capable of capturing CO2 molecules directly from open air. (The chemical makeup of the fabriclike sorbent is being kept under wraps.) While that may sound tricky enough, the hard part is in prying the carbon dioxide loose once you absorb it.

To remove the molecules, the sheets are sprayed with a chemical solution that bonds to the carbon dioxide. The solution is then drained off to a separation unit, where the CO2 is isolated as pure gas through electrodialysis. A design goal was to avoid using toxic or corrosive chemicals that would require special handling, so ordinary PVC pipe is used to transfer the solution back to a collection unit so that it can be recycled.


CO2-to-Methanol Using NHCs as Organocatalysts – Singapore Scientists

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

Scientists in Singapore say they’ve found a way to turn carbon dioxide into methanol, a biofuel. How that might be applied to capturing the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere remains to be seen.

Scientists in Singapore say they’ve found a low-temperature, low-energy way to turn carbon dioxide into methanol, providing a potential revenue stream for carbon capture projects in the form of a biofuel and industrial chemical output.

The researchers at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology say the new process is a marked improvement over previous methods of turning the world’s major greenhouse gas into a useful product.

The new process uses d N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) as an organocatalyst, then adds hydrosilicane – a combination of silica and hydrogen – and water to make methanol, according to a study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.



DOE CO2 Sequestration R&D Program – Breakthrough Ideas for Capturing, Storing CO2 Explored

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

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.


Cyclic Carbonates from CO2 – Newcastle Univ Breakthrough

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Scientists at Newcastle University have pioneered breakthrough technology in the fight to cut greenhouse gases. The Newcastle University team, led by Michael North, Professor of Organic Chemistry, has developed a highly energy-efficient method of converting waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into chemical compounds known as cyclic carbonates.

The team estimates that the technology has the potential to use up to 48 million tonnes of waste CO2 per year, reducing the UK’s emissions by about four per cent.

Cyclic carbonates are widely used in the manufacture of products including solvents, paint-strippers, biodegradable packaging, as well as having applications in the chemical industry.

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Another Geo-engineering Idea for Climate Change – Cloud Ships as Climate Salvation?

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Ah, and here comes another fantastic sounding geo-engineering idea.

The study, termed “An Analysis of Climate Engineering as a Response to Climate Change”, calculates that proposals for a fleet of 1,900 unmanned ships capable of spraying water into the air to seed clouds would cost just $9 billion. The clouds would then reflect one to two per cent of the sun’s energy back into space, effectively cancelling out the warming effect generated by the past century’s carbon emissions.

After exploring other geoengineering options, the study concluded that the cloud ship fleet offered the most cost-effective option, providing $2,000 worth of benefits for each $1 invested. In contrast, it calculated that releasing aerosol particles into the atmosphere would cost $230bn over 25 years and would deliver $15 of benefits for each dollar invested, while space mirrors and carbon capture systems were deemed less attractive still from both a technical and a cost perspective.

However, green groups were quick to downplay the proposals, arguing that geo-engineering projects are unlikely to prove effective and could distract from efforts to cut carbon emissions.

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Role of North Sea in CO2 Storage – UK-Norway Study

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

A study of the role of the North Sea in providing storage space under the sea-bed for carbon dioxide from European countries was commissioned jointly by the UK and Norway. Lord Hunt and the Norwegian Minister Terje Riis-Johansen, met to agree on a clear vision for the potential role of the North Sea in the future deployment of CCS in Europe, at the conference on Climate Change and Technology in Bergen, Norway.

The study will look at how quickly the base of the North Sea could be needed for carbon dioxide storage and what the UK, Norway and other countries have to do to get it ready in time.

The aim of the study will be to build a profile for the whole of the North Sea, assessing each countries’ storage potential and projections of likely volumes and locations of CO2 flows, against a rising price of carbon.
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