U.K. academics to research carbon capture

Cardiff, Wales, March 13, 2012 — The University of Glamorgan in South Wales, U.K., as coordinator of a collaborative consortium of 13 E.U. partners, has secured over $11.8 million from the European Commission for a research project which will investigate how coal can be burnt so as to facilitate carbon capture and storage, thereby minimizing carbon dioxide emissions to the environment.

The Reliable and Efficient Combustion of Oxygen/Coal/Recycled Flue Gas Mixtures project, known as RELCOM, is designed to undertake a series of applied research, development and demonstration activities involving both experimental studies and modeling work to enable full-scale early demonstration oxyfuel plant to be designed and specified with greater confidence as well as providing improved assessment of the commercial risks and opportunities.

Currently around 28 percent of electricity in the U.K. is produced by burning coal so the need to find cleaner methods of burning the fuel is much needed.

Oxyfuel combustion is a CCS technology where fossil fuel is fired with oxygen instead of air, the flue gases then largely consist of carbon dioxide and water vapor so that carbon dioxide purification is more easily achieved.

A major challenge exists to lower the resulting flame temperatures which can be achieved through recycle of the flue gases. This mitigates the flame temperature making oxyfuel combustion suitable for retrofit or new-build coal power plant. Other advantages include virtually zero emissions of the oxides of nitrogen and a smaller carbon capture plant.

Oxyfuel combustion has been demonstrated at about 40 MW but commercial-scale demonstration is the next necessary step and there are barriers to this happening.

Led by the University of Glamorgan, the project will be undertaken by a consortium of higher education institutions, research centres and industrial partners, from across Europe, bringing together the best in research facilities and technology development expertise.

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