|UND gets DoE grant to advance carbon capture from coal-powered plants|
Researchers at UND received a competitive award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that aims to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies while providing graduate and undergraduate student training opportunities.
This SUNRISE project is titled "Efficient Regeneration of Physical and Chemical Solvents for CO2 Capture." It will evaluate the use of composite polymer membranes and porous membrane contactors for the recovery of CO2 (carbon dioxide) from CO2 -rich solvent streams from coal gasification syngas. This work will also be applicable to similar carbon capture technology for traditional coal combustion systems. SUNRISE, which stands for Sustainable Energy Research Initiative and Supporting Education, is an interdisciplinary program at UND and North Dakota State University.
"Current solvent extraction technologies require a lot of energy to separate the CO2 back out of the solvent using traditional distillation," said project principal investigator Brian Tande, UND assistant professor of chemical engineering. "The goal of this work will be the development of materials and processes that reduce the costs of the solvent regeneration process by using a less energy intensive technique "membrane separation" to accomplish the same goal."
"I'm most excited about the novel educational aspects of this grant," said SUNRISE director and co-PI Wayne Seames, UND professor of chemical engineering. "In addition to working directly on the research included in the project, graduate students will also spend six months working on CO2 sequestration technology research either at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) or in UND's geological engineering program. In addition, senior chemical engineering students will be using the results to evaluate the commercial feasibility of carbon capture systems utilizing membrane separation regeneration."
Co-PI Steve Benson, a UND chemical engineering professor, said that this technology could decrease the cost of carbon capture by improving the efficiency of separating carbon dioxide from flue gas.
"At the same time we will provide education opportunities for graduate students who will ultimately work in the emerging carbon capture industry," Benson said.
Spread over three years, this $300,000 project will be managed by NETL. Funded through the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the project is part of a DOE program aimed at advancing CCS scientific, technical, and institutional knowledge while simultaneously producing the expertise and workforce needed for the emerging carbon capture and storage industry.
SUNRISE is a student centered, faculty organized supercluster comprising of 30 faculty in 13 separate academic departments at UND, NDSU, Mayville State University, and the North Dakota State College of Science. SUNRISE research is focused in three areas: the technologies to enable the environmentally sustainable use of coal, the production of fuels, chemicals, polymers, and composites from renewable sources, and the harvesting of energy from diffuse sources (wind/solar/hydrogen). More than 170 undergraduate and graduate students have worked on SUNRISE research projects.
-- Juan Pedraza, Writer/Editor, University Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-6571