The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fossil Energy Program has adopted a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to the research and development (R&D) of advanced carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technologies for coal-based power plants. Under this program, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is conducting research to develop the next generation of advanced capture concepts for coal-based power plants. Research projects are carried out using various funding mechanisms - including partnerships, cooperative agreements, and financial assistance grants - with corporations, small businesses, universities, nonprofit organizations, and other national laboratories and government agencies. Current efforts cover not only improvements to state-of-the-art, first generation technologies, but also the development of second and third generation advanced CO2 capture technologies. In addition, DOE/NETL is conducting technical-economic analyses to establish the baseline cost and performance for current CO2 capture technologies and determine the feasibility of advanced capture and compression technologies.

The overall goal of the DOE/NETL CO2 capture R&D program is to develop advanced technologies that achieve at least 90 percent CO2 capture with a corresponding cost and energy penalty reduction of 50 percent compared to current state-of-the art technologies applied to pulverized coal combustion and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants. Critical R&D targets include the completion of laboratory- and small pilot-scale testing of a broad spectrum of CO2 capture approaches, including advanced solvents, sorbents, membranes, oxy-combustion, and chemical looping combustion by 2016; completion of large pilot-scale testing by 2020; and full-scale demonstrations of the most promising technologies beginning by 2020. It is anticipated that successful progression from laboratory-through full-scale demonstration will result in several of these advanced technologies being available for commercial deployment by 2030.

The purpose of this paper is to provide an update on the R&D efforts of advanced post-combustion CO2 capture technologies for coal-based power systems being conducted by DOE/NETL.


The primary mission of DOE's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) is to "ensure the availability of near-zero atmospheric emissions, abundant, affordable, domestic energy to fuel economic prosperity, strengthen energy security, and enhance environmental quality." Furthermore, FE's Clean Coal Research Program (CCRP) - administered by the Office of Clean Coal and implemented by NETL - has a mission to "create technology and technology-based policy options for public benefit by enhancing U.S. economic, environmental, and energy security." This mission is achieved by developing technologies to enhance the clean use of domestic fossil fuels and to reduce emissions from fossil-fueled electricity generation plants to achieve near-zero atmospheric emissions power production. CCRP is designed to remove environmental concerns related to coal use by developing a portfolio of innovative technologies, including those for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). DOE/NETL recently introduced the term "utilization" to the more commonly used phrase of "carbon capture and storage (CCS)" to reflect the growing importance of developing beneficial uses for captured CO2. At this time, the most significant utilization for CO2 is in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. Conducted in partnership with the private sector, the program's R&D efforts are focused on maximizing the efficiency and environmental performance of advanced coal technologies while minimizing development and deployment costs.

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