Ammonia-based scrubbing process for capture CO2 from power generation

Over 50% of the electric power generated in the U.S. comes from coal-burning power generators. A major concern for power gen-eration systems that use coal as an energy source is gaseous emissions from the plant. Although certain emissions are currently regulated, such as sulfur dioxide and nitric oxides, a very large potential exists that car-bon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, may be regulated in the not-too-distant future. It is suggested by the scientific community that global warming can be impacted by an increase in CO2 concentration in the atmo-sphere. Coal-burning power generators—new ones that may be constructed or the vast major-ity of older ones that will not be retired in the next 30 years—may need to adopt tech-niques to mitigate CO2 emissions. Carbon sequestration, CO2 capture followed by per-manent storage, is a viable technology as outlined in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fossil Energy Program. Patented, li-censed, and transferred through a Coopera-tive Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), this technology will aid in the mitigation of CO2 emissions and pro-vide the power generation industry with an affordable and advantageous technique to capture CO2 from power generation point sources.For this technology, NETL researchers de-veloped a novel process to capture CO2 and other gaseous components from flue gas that are emitted from coal-fired power plants. The technology was transferred to Power-span Corporation for commercialization. Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Pow-erspan develops and commercializes propri-etary, multi-pollutant control and CO2 cap-ture technology for electric power plants. The technology transfer activities with Powerspan included licensing of a patent that describes a technique to capture CO2 from flue gas by using an aqueous-based scrubbing solution. Additionally, a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between NETL and Powerspan was executed. The potential market for the technology is signifi-cant. When the technology is implemented, this new wet scrubbing technique will provide the utility industry—as well as the American public—with a solution for mitigating global warming and for pollution control, while also offering the ability to maintain electricity at af-fordable, reasonable prices.
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