U.S. Plans to Invest $67 Million in 3 Years to Reduce Carbon-Capture Cost

July 7 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) -- The U.S. Energy Department said it will invest $67 million over three years in 10 projects aimed at controlling the cost of capturing emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The initiatives, which include work by Siemens AG and URS Group Inc., will focus on reducing the energy and efficiency costs that power companies will incur when installing technology to capture carbon-dioxide pollution from their plants, the agency said in a statement today. Each grant is contingent upon recipients matching the federal investment with company funds.

Capturing and storing the emissions that scientists link to global warming requires greater energy to operate, which reduces net power output and decreases overall plant efficiency. The goal of the projects is to reduce the added electricity costs to less than 30 percent for new pulverized coal plants and 10 percent for new advanced gasification plants, the agency said.

“Post-combustion CO2 capture technology offers great near- term potential” to reduce emissions because it can be integrated into existing plants, the agency said.

Selected projects will develop and test post-combustion capture technologies using membranes, solvents and solid sorbents at “bench-scale” and “slipstream-scale,” the agency said. Emissions will be captured from 500-kilowatt equivalent to 5-megawatt equivalent flue gas streams, the department said.

Siemens, URS

Siemens Energy, a unit of Europe’s biggest engineering company, will get about $8.9 million to design and install technology that uses an amino-acid salt formulation as a solvent to absorb CO2 emissions at Teco Energy Inc.’s Big Bend Station in Tampa, Florida, according to the statement.

URS Group was awarded $3 million, and St. Louis-based Akermin Inc. $2.6 million for projects using solvents. 3H Company LLC, Ion Engineering LLC and the University of Illinois at Champaign also are receiving grants for solvents.

American Air Liquide Inc. will get $1.27 million and for- profit researcher Gas Technology Institute about $2.98 million to test their membrane-based technologies.

Membrane Technology and Research Inc. will get $14.8 million for a project to capture CO2 from a flue gas stream at Arizona Public Service’s Cholla Power Plant over six months.

ADA-ES Inc. of Littleton, Colorado, will get about $11.1 million to design a pilot unit at one of its cost-share participant’s power plants to demonstrate solid sorbent-based CO2 capture for at least two months.

President Barack Obama in February created a task force on carbon capture and directed the inter-agency group to develop a comprehensive federal strategy within 180 days. Obama at the time set a goal of bringing online 5 to 10 “commercial demonstration” projects by 2016 and making widespread deployment of the technology cost-effective within 10 years.

The inter-agency task force met for the first time in May, and its first report is scheduled to be delivered to the president in August.

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