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UK CAER receives $2.9m for CCS research

 November 18, 2018

The United States Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy selected the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) to receive a $2.9 million grant that will allow the center to develop new technologies to lower the cost of capturing CO2.

The CAER project, titled “Advancing Post-CombustionCO2 Capture through Increased Mass Transfer and Lower Degradation”, proposes to “significantly advance deployment of CO2 capture through enabling technologies that increase CO2 mass transfer and reduce solvent loss.”

The project will involve the development and fabrication of customized dynamic packing to increase CO2 mass transfer in the absorber column, and an electrochemical cell to adsorb and decompose nitrosamines before they can be emitted into the environment. After both of these systems have been constructed, they will be tested on CAER’s bench-scale CO2 capture unit.

According to Kunlei Liu, associate director for research at CAER and a co-principal investigator on this project, one of the obstacles to CO2 capture commercialization is due to the cost and energy output required to capture the carbon dioxide. One of the significant capital costs come in constructing the absorber column. The hope is that this customized approach to designing the packing material inside the absorber column can increase the capture rate and thereby decrease the size and cost of the absorber column.

Additionally, CAER’s post-combustion carbon capture system is solvent-based (the solvent captures the carbon dioxide). Many other carbon capture systems currently in development utilize a solvent-based approach. Liu says what makes this project particularly interesting to others in the field is the fact that this technology could be applied to all solvent-based systems.

“Finding a low-cost, effective and environmentally-sound method for solvent-based CO2 capture is in great demand in the energy world,” Liu said. “This could be a major breakthrough for all of us in the field.”

Partnering with UK CAER on this project is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (Carbon Capture Journal)

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