Researchers find profitable sequestration of power plant emissions

Oct 24, 2002 02:00 AM

A group of researchers simulating conditions available to a power plant were able to sequester over 20 % of the carbon dioxide emissions. They used inert biomass char from which hydrogen had been extracted. Passing ammonia (which is made from hydrogen) into the exhaust gas with fluidised char, they were able to produce ammonium bicarbonate fertilizer inside the microscopic char structure.
This integrated method of creating a nitrogen rich fertilizer could mean the profitable direct capture of power plant CO2 emissions, and reduce NOx and SOx, which are captured as well. In one test, they effectively sequestered rates of atmospheric carbons equal to 35 % of carbon dioxide emissions. The process creates a slow release fertilizer material called ECOSSTM, (enriched carbon, slow-release sequestering) fertilizer with many soil amendment properties.

The group seeks partnerships with agricultural schools, the fertilizer industry and farmer co-ops to validate performance of these sequestering soil amendments. The inventors of the novel sequestration technique are Danny Day, Bob Evans (National Renewable Energy Laboratory-NREL), James Lee and Rongfu Li (Oak Ridge National Laboratory- ORNL) The technique involves both direct capture of the CO2 as well as and indirect capture/sequestration by using the char. The combined product also increases sequestration of CO2 in plant growth.
ORNL and NREL technologies are synergistically working together to sequester large amounts of carbon while removing carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide from power plant emission. The group filed for patent protection to insure investigators and companies seeking to solve global warming issues can secure access to the technology.

The verification of this capability could mean a solution for global warming issues is closer at hand. Day said, "We have dedicated that profits derived from these inventions will go back into the research work for global warming issues."
"This method may not be the very best, but we can at least demonstrate a profitable way to achieve sequestration goals while other more advanced technologies are developed. Our view is that a technology that rebuilds soils, retains moisture, increases plant growth, creates a renewable hydrogen infrastructure, reduces farm chemical runoff and does it by using that which has historically viewed as part of global warming, may have a place in a sustainable future.

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