Carbon Capture Starts From Coal Plant, Advances in Lab

Two research groups come up with super carbon-capturing materials

3 min read

13 March 2008—Last week, a power plant operated by Milwaukee-based We Energies became the first to begin capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from its exhaust with the sole purpose of keeping the planet-warming gas out of the atmosphere. It uses a new chilled-ammonia technology developed by French power equipment company Alstom Power. But successor technologies have recently emerged that could make scrubbing carbon dioxide from smokestacks (the most expensive part of the process) much cheaper. In the past few weeks, research groups have reported of materials that can accumulate enormous volumes of carbon dioxide on their surfaces and can also be easily reused.

Carbon capture and sequestration involves absorbing the carbon dioxide in the plant’s exhaust, separating the carbon dioxide from the captured material—so the sorbent can be reused—and finally, compressing the gas and storing it. Right now, the first step, capturing carbon, makes up three-fourths of the total cost.

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Greg Mably

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