SequesTech: A novel process to capture and mineralize flue gas carbon dioxide

May 05, 2011

( -- A process that directly captures flue gas carbon dioxide from the combustion process and holds it has earned a patent for the University of Wyoming.

Professor KJ Reddy, whose career in research has spanned decades, began testing a mineral carbonation process three decades ago. Through his work, he proposed a technique that uses carbon dioxide to speed up the carbon mineralization process of industrial residues.

Now, Reddy's SequesTech process has shown that elements of flue gas, which include carbon dioxide, and mercury, can be simultaneously captured and turned into solid minerals without having to separate them from the flue gas. The process captures and holds carbon dioxide and other components of flue gas as an alternative to geologic storage, in which carbon dioxide is injected into pore spaces in underground .

Many industrial processes produce flue gas, including those for cement plants, paper mills, steel plants and incinerators as well as municipal and medical solid waste incinerators. All release anthropogenic carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These processes also create ash as a byproduct, Reddy says.

When Reddy's early work was published in both the and the Journal, it laid the groundwork for mineral carbonation studies by other scientists, engineers and researchers. Mineral carbonation has been tested in the lab, but Reddy has now tested his technology in the field at the Jim Bridger Power Station at Point of Rocks, Wyo., owned by PacifiCorp.

"Because this process has a fast reaction time, we think it will have wide industrial applications," Reddy says. "All the inputs for this process are at the plant, so the process can be completed on-site."

Prior research by Reddy and others showed that separating the carbon dioxide from flue gas for mineralization has limitations because of the work involved in separation, transport and preparation for mineralization. Reddy and his team pioneered the process of capturing carbon dioxide directly from flue gas. This specific project shows that significant amounts of flue gas carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury can be directly captured and mineralized by the fly ash particles under field conditions. The pilot-scale study shows this process to be cost effective with a minimum carbon footprint and can be retrofitted to existing coal-fired power plants or installed in new power plants as a post-combustion unit requiring very little of the plants generated electricity to run the process.

"It has been a pleasure working with the University of Wyoming on this project," said Bob Arambel, managing director, Bridger Plant. "We have been supportive of the project and are pleased that the initial results have been positive."

The project required the cooperation and collaboration of a wide range of team members. The team at the Bridger power plant consists of Arambel; Paul Fahlsing, director, plant operations; Jim Sedey, engineering manager; Roger Warner, maintenance planner; and Ryan Taucher, environmental analyst.

Reddy leads the UW team. The other members are Morris Argyle, adjunct chemical engineering professor; Michael Urynowicz and Jennifer Tanner, civil engineering professors; and Brandon Reynolds, research scientist from the UW Department of Renewable Resources. David Taylor, professor of agricultural economics and research scientist Thomas Foulke conducted the economic analysis of the process. The team has also included former graduate students Viswatej Attili, Hollis Weber and Mikol Christensen.

"This process has great advantages and complements conventional carbon capture and sequestration technologies by minimizing the cost," Bill Gern, UW vice president for research and economic development, says. "SequesTech holds immense promise in capturing and mineralizing flue gas carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury. It is the most inexpensive technology we know of to capture flue gas ."

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Provided by University of Wyoming

3.8 /5 (5 votes)

Related Stories

New CO2 'scrubber' from ingredient in hair conditioners

Mar 24, 2010

Relatives of ingredients in hair-conditioning shampoos and fabric softeners show promise as a long-sought material to fight global warming by "scrubbing" carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the flue gases from coal-burning ...

Serpentine locks up Carbon Dioxide

Sep 02, 2004

A common mineral can remove carbon dioxide from combustion gases, but in its natural state, it is glacially slow. Now, a team of Penn State researchers is changing serpentine so that it sequesters the carbon ...

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

( —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (2) May 05, 2011
nice, but how does it work?
not rated yet May 06, 2011
Brought to you by the "Clean Coal" companies. I like magic, so that is what I get. I do not see any real explanation of the process.
not rated yet May 07, 2011
How much is a "significant" amount of CO2, etc.?

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.