Project No: FC26-05NT42650
Performer: Southwest Research Institute

Shailesh D. Vora
Technology Manager, Carbon Capture
National Energy Technology Laboratory
626 Cochrans Mill Road
P.O. Box 10940
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940

Travis Shultz
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Jeffrey Moore
Principal Investigator
Southwest Research Institute
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, Texas 78238

Award Date:  10/01/2005
Project Date:  06/30/2014

DOE Share: $8,499,355.00
Performer Share: $3,469,148.00
Total Award Value: $11,968,503.00

Performer website: Southwest Research Institute -

Carbon Capture - Post-Combustion Capture

Novel Concepts for the Compression of Large Volumes of Carbon Dioxide

Project Description

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), partnered with Dresser-Rand, is developing improved methods to compress CO2 to pipeline pressures while minimizing the energy expended. This project will design and evaluate an efficient and costeffective compressor for sequestering IGCC plant CO2. Various concepts will be investigated using fundamental thermodynamics and economics to determine if achieving the pressure rise is best accomplished through a liquid and/or gaseous CO2 state. Novel methods to compress gaseous CO2 while removing the heat of compression internal to the compressor will be investigated. The high pressure ratio required to compress CO2 from near atmospheric pressure to pipeline levels results in significant heat of compression. Less energy is required to boost the pressure of a cool gas; therefore, both upstream and interstage cooling is desirable. Researchers will determine the optimum compressor configuration and develop technologies for internal heat removal. Alternate compression options using liquefied CO2 and cryogenic pumping will be explored as well.

This project consists of three phases. Phase I, Scoping and Modeling, focused on CO2 compressor/pump technologies and assessment of performance characteristics. Phase II, Bench-scale Testing and Evaluation, focused on evaluation and testing of selected CO2 compressor/pump technologies. Phase III, Pilot-Scale Testing, is focused on the scale-up and testing of a fully-integrated pressurization system.

Program Background and Project Benefits

The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) Carbon Capture Program is to develop innovative environmental control technologies to enable full use of the nation’s vast coal reserves, while at the same time allowing the current fleet of coal-fired power plants to comply with existing and emerging environmental regulations. The Carbon Capture Program portfolio of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions control technologies and CO2 compression is focused on advancing technological options for the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants in the event of carbon constraints.

Studies conducted by DOE have revealed the high cost and energy requirements that exist for CO2 compression. The CO2 captured from a power plant will need to be compressed from 1,500 to 2,200 pounds per square inch absolute (psia) to be effectively transported via pipeline and injected into an underground sequestration site. This compression requires significant power and the penalty can be as high as 8 to 12 percent for pulverized coal (PC) plants and 5 to 7 percent for a typical integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant. Reduction of the compression cost and energy requirements will benefit the overall efficiency of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for utility applications.

The concepts developed in this project can significantly reduce the cost of pressurizing CO2 to pipeline requirements and improve the overall efficiency of CCS systems for all types of power plants. Successful completion of the Phase III project effort should advance the technology to the point of field demonstration testing.

Primary Project Goal

The project goal is to examine methods to pressurize CO2 to pipeline pressures while significantly decreasing parasitic energy consumption, assisting central power plants to capture and store CO2 economically.


The project objectives are to advance CO2 compression and pumping technology to provide double digit power savings compared to a conventional compressor. These efforts are aimed at advancing and evaluating an in-line, multi-stage, internally-cooled centrifugal compressor in a pilot-scale plant in order to improve the mechanical reliability compared to integrally geared compressors. The design will be scalable to accommodate 1000 MW class power plants.

Planned Activities

Phase I:

Phase II:

Phase III: