The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded funding for two research projects from the Georgia Institute of Technology that focus on developing advanced post-combustion technologies for capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants.
The Georgia Tech awards represent two out of 16 announced by the agency on Aug. 25. In total, the DOE pledged to award more than $41 million over three years to organizations across the U.S. for projects focused on reducing the energy and cost penalties associated with current carbon-capture technologies.
As principal investigator, Christopher Jones, New-Vision Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, will receive $2.4 million over three years for research on the use of amine sorbent-loaded hollow fibers for CO2 capture—a novel process referred to as rapid temperature swing adsorption. Jones and his research team aim to have the preliminary design, optimization and economic analysis of a full-scale system to demonstrate the potential for this technology to meet cost and performance goals set by the DOE.
The Obama Administration has set a goal to develop cost-effective carbon-capture technologies within 10 years and to bring five to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016.
William Koros, Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Excellence in Chemical Engineering, GRA Eminent Scholar in Membranes and professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, is the co-principal investigator on a separate project based with GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y., which will receive $2.4 million over three years. The research will focus on developing new, bench-scale polymer membranes, which includes modifying the properties of the polymer in a coating solution and fabricating highly engineered, porous, hollow fiber supports.
“I am enthusiastic about the caliber of research that professors Jones and Koros are doing under this program,” said Ronald W. Rousseau, school chair & Cecil J. "Pete" Silas Chair in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. “Not only are they contributing to the development of outstanding graduate students, but their research projects also have the potential for impacting energy needs and influencing the sustainability of our energy supply.”
Existing carbon-capture technologies are not efficient because they require large amounts of energy for their operation. The goal of this research is to reduce the energy penalty with carbon-capture technologies, lowering costs and helping to move the technology closer to widespread use. Post-combustion, carbon-capture devices can be applied to both new and existing plants by adding a separating agent that helps isolate the CO2 from the other gases before it leaves the plant. This device can take the form of membranes, solvents or sorbents.
“Charting a path toward clean coal is essential to achieving our goals of providing clean energy, creating American jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will also help position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.