Scientists in the United States claim they have found a more efficient way to remove carbon dioxide from power plant emissions.
Capturing the carbon released when burning fossil fuels has become a holy grail for some who see CCS technology as a way for nations to continue using older power stations until renewable energy sources become cheaper and more widespread.
Stations like the coal plant Kingsnorth (pictured) in the UK have had to close because it would be too difficult and expensive to adapt machinery to make them less polluting – as dictated by EU rules.
Now researchers at MIT claim to have come up with a simpler way of “scrubbing” CO2 from emissions which doesn’t need the “complex plumbing” used by many CCS techniques being developed.
They say their system doesn’t just divert the steam from a power plant and use heat from this steam to force the particles to separate.
Instead an electrochemical process replaces the steam-based separation of amines and CO2. The system only needs electricity, which they say means it could easily be added to an existing plant as a “plug-and-play” CCS extra.
So far, the research team has tested mathematical models and a small-scale lab test of the system and hope to move on to larger-scale tests to prove the system’s performance. They say it could take five to 10 years for the system to be developed commercialy.
The research was published online in the journal ‘Energy and Environmental Science’.