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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 JG imageLast week in sunny Pittsburgh I was invited to present an overview of the global status of CO2 capture at the annual USDOE/NETL Capture Programme contractor’s workshop. I had personally not attended this meeting before and had not been exposed to the extent of research work that is underway on this topic. To be honest I can say I was very impressed both with the programme itself and the research underway.

THE USDOE is actively funding a number of CCS demonstrations that are using state-of-the-art (1st-Generation) CCS systems. However if coal with partial CCS is going to be competitive with natural gas in the US energy market there is a need to drive down the costs of capture. This is the fundamental drive of the capture programme.
The programme is aiming to develop 2nd-Generation capture technologies that:

Then develop what are called Develop Transformational (or 3rd generation) capture technologies that:

Ambitious targets indeed. However, having been at the meeting and listened to the technology presentations from industry and academia is clear that there is a hjosirly committed research network here with a real entrepreneurial drive. Projects underway are looking at solid sorbents in a range of contacting vehicles (fixed, moving bed, circulating beds etc.). The aim here is to develop a low cost absorber that can be regenerated using low grade heat. Research is also underway on membrane reactors, mixed and advanced liquid sorbents. Whilst much of the activity is focused on post combustion capture there is also a significant effort on pre combustion capture or IGGC.

This whole activity is complimented by the National Carbon Capture Centre, a dedicated slip stream test facility at the Alabama Power Gaston power plant Unit 5, an 880 MW supercritical pulverized coal unit. The aim of which is to support development of multiple post-combustion CO2 capture technologies at several scales. In addition there is a dedicated pre combustion test facility as well. All in all an impressive supporting act to the capture development programme itself.