Linde North America and the University of Illinois have secured grants from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to research and improve technologies for capturing carbon emissions from power plants.

The $3.65m grants will be used for two projects that started in April and will see the installation of carbon capturing technology at a large pilot facility.

Linde Group Technology and Innovation Function Group R&D – Americas head Krish Krishnamurthy said: “These two projects are key to improving energy efficiency and scaling up cost-effective, post-combustion carbon capture technology for power plants.”

Out of the two projects, one project will run until 2020, for which Linde will be responsible for developing and validating technologies to reduce solvent loss during the post-combustion carbon capture process by pre-treating flue-gas laden with aerosols.

“It is necessary to take steps to make fossil-powered power plants more sustainable.”

Testing will be carried out at the University of Illinois’ Abbott power plant.

Illinois Sustainable Technology Centre director Dr Kevin O’Brien said: “From a global perspective, coal continues to be an important fuel for electricity generation. It is necessary to take steps to make fossil-powered power plants more sustainable.”

Washington University in St. Louis is also a partner in the project.

The University of Illinois will play the lead role in the second project for which DOE will offer annual funding.

Linde and project partner BASF will design and provide pre-engineering needed to scale-up the Linde-BASF advanced post-combustion capture process, using the latter’s OASE blue technology at a 10MW capacity large pilot.

The companies intend to demonstrate increased energy efficiency achieved through the technology in comparison to the previous pilots in Germany and Alabama. They will also assess the suitability of two Illinois power plants for potential pilot sites.

The project team plans to present the Phase II proposal to the DOE for front-end engineering of the large pilot.

Following the approval, the team will focus on a large pilot and prepare a potential Phase III project, involving its construction, operation and testing.