Thursday, December 09, 2010

Another Possible Use for CO2 Produced from CTL and BTL

The best use for CO2 was evolved over eons by biological life on Earth. Humans have many uses for CO2 in chemical and beverage plants as well. With a recent concern for the CO2 generated by biomass / fossil fuel use, researchers have been looking at new uses for excess CO2 produced by human activity.

University of Illinois’ scientists Dr. Paul Kenis and graduate student Devin Whipple are developing a number of catalytic conversions of CO2 to useful chemicals. Another team on a similar quest is led by Liviu M. Mirica, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. Turning CO2 into useful products requires a lot of concentrated CO2, a lot of energy, and the proper catalysts. The approaches taken by the two research teams above are are detailed by Brian Westenhaus at the links provided.

It is useful to look at such research, since there is a convergence of sorts developing. First, cheap, reliable, and safe nuclear power is being developed via factory-built small modular fission reactors. These can easily provide the energy needed for the reaction, and can be co-located with a variety of CO2 - producing industrial plants. Second, there is a growing societal interest in recycling waste products -- including CO2. While CO2 is not properly thought of as a "pollutant", it is certainly a waste product of industry and power production. Third, there is a need to develop the vast coal, gas, heavy oil, oil sands, and biomass resources around the world, to supplement the energy needs of emerging nations such as China, India, and California.

The graphic below looks at carbon which might be retrieved from various carbon energy and fuels production processes, using various technologies.

A detailed study by researchers from China and the US has concluded that Fischer-Tropsch synthetic liquid fuels (FTL) are typically less costly to produce when electricity is generated as a major coproduct than when the plants are designed to produce mainly liquid fuels.

Furthermore, coproduction systems that utilize a co-feed of biomass and coal (CBTL) and incorporate CO2 capture and storage (CCS) in the design offer attractive opportunities for decarbonizing both liquid fuels and power generation simultaneously. Such co-production systems, when considered as power generators, can provide decarbonized electricity at lower costs than is feasible with new stand-alone fossil fuel power plants under a wide range of conditions, according to the study by Liu et al. published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. _GCC
If one's goal is to sequester CO2 from carbon (fossil fuels plus biomass) power plants as economically as possible, then Liu et al. may be onto something. Certainly if one had an economic use for the CO2 being sequestered, the entire combined process would provide a better return.

In reality, IGCC + CHP -- integrated gasification combined cycle + combined heat and power -- of coal and biomass, is more economical than IGCC plus carbon sequestration. But as the methods of making use of concentrated CO2 from power plants, cement factories, etc. become more economical, perhaps carbon sequestration will begin to make sense, economically.

The US EPA and Interior Department under President Obama, are full of carbon hysterics. The same is true for other governments of the Anglosphere and governments in the EU. As long as these fools have any influence on industrial and energy policy, carbon sequestration -- as uneconomical as it is on its own -- may well play a part in energy policy. If that is the case, one may as well develop as many technologies as possible to mitigate the economic harm that these idiot policies are certain to bring.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts