You are here

Carbon Capture and Storage Initiative Aims to Bring Technologies to Market Faster

March 16, 2011 - 1:00pm


Washington, DC - The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has begun research under the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI), partnering with other national laboratories, universities, and industry to develop state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate commercialization of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

CCSI is one of three areas of research under the Carbon Capture and Storage Simulation Initiative announced late last year by Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The others involve developing validation data and experimental work, and developing methodology and simulation tools to assess risk. Work in all three areas will be aided by a new Simulation-Based Engineering User Center that NETL is creating in a separate but related effort.

CCSI will utilize a software infrastructure to accelerate the development and deployment cycle for bringing new, cost-effective CCS technologies to market in several important ways:

  • Promising concepts will be more quickly identified through rapid computational screening of devices and processes.
  • The time and expense to design and troubleshoot new devices and processes will be reduced through science-based optimal designs.
  • The technical risk in taking technology from laboratory-scale to commercial-scale will be more accurately quantified.
  • Deployment costs will be quantified more quickly by replacing some of the physical operational tests with virtual power plant simulations.

CCS is a key component in national efforts to curb climate change. The process involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources, such power plants and industrial facilities, and storing it in ways that prevent the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has initiated a number of programs to promote CCS, including the Carbon Capture and Storage Simulation Initiative and the CCSI.

While the ultimate goal of the CCSI is to deliver a set of tools that can simulate scale-up of a broad suite of new carbon capture technologies, from laboratory to commercial scale, the first 5 years of the project will focus on developing capabilities applicable to oxy-combustion and post-combustion capture by solid sorbents and advanced solvents. Among possible carbon capture technologies, these are expected to have the most immediate impact on U.S. pulverized coal power plants, which currently generate nearly half of the nation’s electricity and are expected to emit 95 percent of U.S. coal-based CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2030.

The CCSI is led by NETL and leverages the core strengths of DOE’s national laboratories in modeling and simulation. The project brings together the best capabilities at NETL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The CCSI’s industrial partners represent the power generation industry and power equipment manufacturers. The initial industrial partners are ADA Environmental Solutions, Alstom Power, Ameren, Babcock Power, Babcock & Wilcox, Chevron, EPRI, Eastman, Fluor, General Electric, Ramgen Power Systems, and Southern Company.

The CCSI’s academic participants--Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Penn State University, Princeton University, and West Virginia University--bring unparalleled expertise in multiphase flow reactors, combustion, process synthesis and optimization, planning and scheduling, and process control techniques for energy processes.