Ohio State University (OSU) Professor Liang-Shih Fan shows Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Charles McConnell OSU's coal direct chemical looping reactor. | Photo by Niranjani Deshpande

Today, at The Ohio State University, the Energy Department announced the selection of eight projects to advance the development of transformational oxy-combustion technologies capable of high-efficiency, low-cost carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from coal-fired power plants. 

The Energy Department is strategically focusing on the economic “utilization” of captured carbon dioxide for commercial purposes – evolving from CCS to Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage or CCUS. 

The Department’s focused research in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies is essential in helping to reduce the carbon pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. By adding Utilization of the captured carbon dioxide, a business case can be made for companies looking to pursue the environmental benefits of CCS.

Today approximately five percent of domestic oil production comes from a process that uses carbon pollution to access otherwise unreachable oil reserves. More widespread use of carbon dioxide to recover these hard-to-reach resources could yield a significant boost to the U.S. economy, including increased economic activity, improved balance of trade, job creation, and reduced oil imports. Most importantly, CCUS would benefit the environment by helping reduce atmospheric man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Today’s announcement marks Phase 1 of a two-phase effort to evaluate and develop advanced oxy-combustion projects that yield cost-competitive options for CCUS. Each project will evaluate a promising near-term technology called oxy-fuel combustion, focusing on engineering and economic analysis of the technology.

The basic concept of oxy-combustion is to replace the combustion air with a mixture of oxygen and recycled flue gas and/or water for temperature control. The remainder of the flue gas, that is not recirculated, is rich in carbon dioxide and water vapor, and is easily separated, producing a stream of CO2 ready for utilization or sequestration.

The Phase 1 projects – each lasting 12 months – with help from the Department’s $7 million investment will also focus on efficiency improvements and cost reductions of capturing carbon. Partnered with the Department’s cutting-edge research, these projects will help industry make fossil energy use cleaner, safer and more sustainable.

The selected projects will be managed by the Energy Department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

  •  Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group (Barberton, Ohio) 
  •  University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, Ky.)
  •  Alstom Power (Windsor, Conn.)
  •  Gas Technology Institute (Des Plaines, Ill.)
  •  Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne  (Canoga Park, Calif.)
  •  Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Texas)
  •  Unity Power Alliance (Worcester, Mass.)
  •  Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.)