Lehigh University's Energy Research Center (ERC) has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop methods of recovering and reusing the heat that would be generated by the carbon-dioxide (CO2) compression process in a carbon capture system. The goal of the research project is to facilitate carbon capture and sequestration, or storage (CCS), and thus limit the amount of CO2, a greenhouse gas, emitted into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants.
Unlike other modeling studies of carbon capture systems, which focus on specific components in the carbon capture system, Lehigh researchers will look at the entire power plant.
"Because the carbon capture system, boiler, steam turbine cycle and CO2 compressor are so closely interconnected, we believe that considering these as a coupled system can be helpful in identifying opportunities for energy and cost savings," said Edward Levy, ERC's director.
The 30-month grant is being awarded through DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The funding was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the economic stimulus package passed by Congress in February. The ERC will use the DOE grant to train graduate students to develop computational models of the methods that are used to capture and compress CO2 and to estimate the increases in power plant efficiency that will result from each method.
In the past year 35 years, the ERC has developed a variety of technologies and solutions that improve the operating efficiency of power plants while reducing emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases.
One ERC technology has achieved a 70-percent reduction in mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by modifying the physical conditions of boilers. A second promotes the capture of toxic acids, and the capture and reuse of water, by condensing water and acid vapors in separate hea
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