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New Projects Set to Target Efficiency, Environmental Gains at Advanced Coal Gasification Facilities

July 27, 2010 - 1:00pm

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Washington, D.C. -- Four projects that will demonstrate an innovative technology that could eventually enhance hydrogen fuel production, lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve efficiencies and lower consumer electricity costs from advanced coal gasification power systems have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The projects will test membrane technology to separate hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal or coal/biomass-derived synthesis gas (syngas), such as from Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power systems. Membranes act as filters that allow one substance through while separating and collecting others.

Analysis of advanced IGCC power systems indicates hydrogen membrane separation technologies could increase overall power plant efficiency, with a resulting decrease in electricity cost to the consumer. Hydrogen produced from the separation could be utilized as an additional turbine fuel or be further used to co-produce other fuels and chemicals. As an added benefit, the membrane separation process can help mitigate GHG emissions by isolating the CO2 produced during gasification, facilitating permanent geological sequestration, or storage.

Until now, advanced hydrogen membrane separation technology development has been primarily conducted at the laboratory scale. These projects will move the technology development to the next level, conducting testing using actual coal-derived synthesis gas. This will provide the pathway to further scale-up this technology to membrane module demonstrations, with the eventual goal of designing and fabricating commercial scale processes for incorporation into advanced power plants.

The total value of the projects is approximately $7.6 million over 15 months, with $5.9 million of DOE funding and $1.7 million of non-Federal cost sharing. The work will be managed by the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The selected projects are:

Praxair, Inc. (Danbury, Conn.)--Praxair will partner with the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colo.) and T3 Scientific (Blaine, Minn.) to demonstrate palladium (Pd) and Pd alloy membranes on ceramic supports for hydrogen separation from coal-derived syngas. Praxair facilities available for the project include the research and development center in Tonawanda, N.Y., the Surface Technologies Center in Indianapolis, Ind., and the Specialty Ceramics Center in Seattle, Wash. Initial gasification tests will be conducted on the small-scale Colorado School of Mines gasifier with additional testing likely at the University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. (DOE share: $1,500,722; $643,167; duration: 15 months)

United Technologies Research Center (East Hartford, Conn.)--This project will demonstrate hydrogen separation from coal-derived syngas using Pd and Pd alloy membranes in three forms: dense metal, surface modified dense metal, and nano-composite metal membranes. United Technologies will partner with Power+Energy, Inc. (Ivyland, Pa.). Gasification testing will be conducted in several gasifiers located at the University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. (DOE share: $1,492,188; recipient share: $373,047; duration: 15 months)

Western Research Institute (Laramie, Wyo.)--Western Research Institute will collaborate with Chart Energy and Chemicals (La Crosse, Wis.) and Synkera Technologies (Longmont, Colo.) to develop and test planar Pd-based ceramic--anodic aluminum oxide--membranes for hydrogen separation from coal-derived syngas streams. Gasification testing will be conducted on Western Research Institute's gasifier located in Laramie, Wyo. (DOE share: $1,399,998; recipient share: $350,349; duration: 15 months)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass.)--Worcester Polytechnic Institute in collaboration with Membrane Technology and Research (Menlo Park, Calif.), Siemens Energy America (Orlando, Fla.), and T3 Scientific (Blaine, Minn.) will demonstrate hydrogen separation from coal-derived syngas using Pd and Pd alloy membranes on porous metal supports. Gasification testing under this project will be conducted at the Power Systems Development Facility/National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, Ala. (DOE share: $1,499,772; recipient share: $375,481; duration: 15 months)

- End of Techline

For more information, contact:

FE Office of Communications, 202-586-5616

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