Electrochemical Membranes for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Power Generation
Project No.: DE-FE0007634
FuelCell Energy, Inc. has developed a novel system concept for the separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources using an electrochemical membrane. The proposed membrane has its genesis from the company’s patented Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) technology. The prominent feature of the DFC membrane is its capability to produce power while capturing CO2 from the flue gas from a pulverized coal (PC) plant. The DFC membrane does not require flue gas compression as it operates on the principles of electrochemistry, resulting in net efficiency gains. The membrane utilizes a fuel (different from the plant flue gas, such as coal-derived syngas, natural gas, or a renewable resource) as the driver for the combined carbon capture and electric power generation. The electrochemical membrane consists of ceramic-based layers filled with carbonate salts, separating CO2 from the flue gas. Because of the electrode’s high reaction rates, the membrane does not require a high CO2 concentration in its feed gas. The planar geometry of the membrane offers ease of scalability to large sizes suitable for deployment in PC plants, which is an important attribute in membrane design. The membrane has been tested at the laboratory scale, verifying the feasibility of the technology for CO2 separation from simulated flue gases of PC plants as well as combined cycle power plants and other industrial facilities. Fuel Cell Energy, Inc. is advancing the technology to a maturity level suitable for adaption by industry for pilot-scale demonstration and subsequent commercial deployment.
The specific objectives for the project include:
- Conduct bench-scale tests of a planar membrane assembly consisting of 10 or more cells, each approximately 0.8 square meters in area.
- Develop the detailed design for a DFC-based CO2 capture system applied to an existing PC plant, and perform the detailed economic analysis and Environmental, Health, & Safety study of the system. The system design activities will include system simulations, equipment sizing, and a plant layout.
- Evaluate the effect of impurities (pollutants such as sulfur dioxide [SO2], nitrogen oxide [NOx], and mercury [Hg]) present in the coal plant flue gas by conducting laboratory-scale performance tests of the membrane.