New “Plug-and-Play” CO2 Scrubber To Be Used In Existing Power Plants

New “Plug-and-Play” CO2 Scrubber To Be Used In Existing Power Plants

By Shinji Tutoru

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS, USA. Researchers were able to develop a new carbon dioxide scrubbing system that works so efficient that they refer to it as the new “plug-and-play” system for power plants. Unlike the complex plumbing being used by most power plants nowadays, the newly developed CO2 scrubber would not need any steam connection and can be easily added to any existing power plant. This process is necessary in any power plant to drive the turbines that generate power for the whole plant. At the same time, the new system can actually work with lower temperatures.

The newly developed system uses amines which is a chemical compound that mixes with CO2 inside the power plant’s emission stream. In a separate chamber, the gas is released once it heats up. In a normal power plant, almost half of the power plant’s low-pressure steam needs to be separated. This process is important to provide the heat that is needed in order to force the amines to release the gas. Of course, not all power plants are economically feasible enough to perform this massive diversion process.

The research team is led by former MIT research scientist Fritz Simeon and Howard Herzog, who is also a senior research engineer at the MIT Energy Initiative. In the new system that their team were able to develop, steam is no longer needed in order to perform the separation of amines. Instead, an electrochemical process is used which makes it even easier to add to existing power plants.

This new technology is expected to be capable of removing at least 90% of carbon dioxide from a power plant’s emissions. At the same time, it will only consume about 25% of power as compared to the conventional process which uses up about 40% of the power plant’s output.

Invention Plug-and-Play CO2 Scrubber
Organization Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA
Researcher Fritz Simeon and Howard Herzog
Field(s) Carbon dioxide, Chemical engineering, Energy and Environmental Science, Fossil fuel power station, United States Department of Energy
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