The international oil and gas company ExxonMobil has entered an agreement with FuelCell Energy to capture power plant carbon dioxide using molten carbonate cells.
This method can help reduce costs and according to laboratory tests, its integration with natural gas-fired generation is more efficient than scrubber conventional capture technology.
ExxonMobil’s research and development vice-president Vijay Swarup said: "Advancing economic and sustainable technologies to capture carbon dioxide from large emitters such as power plants is an important part of ExxonMobil’s suite of research into lower-emissions solutions to mitigate the risk of climate change.
"Our scientists saw the potential for this exciting technology for use at natural gas power plants to enhance the viability of carbon capture and sequestration, while at the same time generating additional electricity.
"We sought industry leaders in carbonate fuel-cell technology to test its application in pilot stages to help confirm what our researchers saw in the lab over the last two years."
FuelCell Energy’s president and CEO Chip Bottone said: "Carbon capture with carbonate fuel cells is a potential game-changer for affordably and efficiently concentrating carbon dioxide for large-scale gas and coal-fired power plants.
"Ultra-clean and efficient power generation is a key attribute of fuel cells and the carbon capture configuration has the added benefit of eliminating approximately 70% of smog-producing nitrogen oxide generated by combustion processes of these large-scale power plants."
Under the terms of the deal, ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy will begin the project by focusing on enhancing efficiency in the separation and concentration of carbon dioxide from the exhaust of natural gas-fueled power turbines.
The second phase will test the technology in a small-scale pilot project before integrating it at a larger pilot facility.