Lexington, KY – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has given a $3 million grant to the University of Kentucky to study advance technology to capture carbon dioxide from new and existing coal-burning power plants.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory, part of the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, has selected the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) for the three-year, $3 million project.
The announcement comes after regulations proposed Sept. 20 by the Environmental Protection Agency to sharply reduce carbon emissions from new power plants.
"Technologies for carbon capture, utilization and storage will be crucial in sustaining coal as a viable fuel under increasing carbon constraints," said CAER Director Rodney Andrews. "The technology is feasible, but it is not yet ready for full-scale implementation. That's why this project is so important."
The CAER project will advance the DOE's goal of having technology available by 2020 that can achieve a 90-percent carbon dioxide capture rate, at a cost of $40 per metric ton of carbon dioxide captured.
A major cost associated with commercial carbon dioxide capture is the size of the what’s known as a scrubber needed to handle the volume of flue gas produced by a power plant. CAER has developed a catalyst to speed up the absorption rate of the solvent used, so the scrubber can be smaller. The CAER technology could reduce the cost of carbon dioxide capture by 56 percent.
The DOE's investment is $2,966,957, in addition to $242,615 from UK and $499,675 from the Carbon Management Research Group, an industry-based research consortium with membership consisting of AEP, Duke, EPRI, LGE-KU and the state’s Department of Energy Development and Independence. Kunlei Liu, CAER associate director for research, will serve as the university’s principal investigator.