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Carbon Capture Program


Advancing technologies for the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from point sources, such as fossil fuel-based power plants and industrial processes, or directly from the atmosphere, with minimum cost and energy penalty

Carbon Capture Icon

NETL’s Carbon Capture Program aims to develop the next generation of advanced carbon dioxide (CO2) capture concepts. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fossil Energy Program has adopted a comprehensive multi-pronged approach for the research and development (R&D) of advanced CO2 capture technologies that have the potential to provide step-change reductions in both cost and energy requirements as compared to currently available technologies. The success of this research will enable cost-effective implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that can be applied to the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired plants, new plants, industrial facilities, and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Cost-competitive carbon capture technologies have the potential to support the fossil sector while advancing U.S. leadership in high efficiency, low-emission (HELE) generation technologies.

The Carbon Capture program includes two core research areas, Post-Combustion Capture and Pre-Combustion Capture, comprised of projects ranging from conceptual engineering and materials design to 25 MW-electrical (MWe) equivalent pilot testing. Additionally, the program advances technologies in emerging research areas of Capture from Industrial Sources and Negative Emissions Technologies.



Core Research Areas:

Upstream ImagePost-Combustion Capture

Post-Combustion capture systems separate CO2 from the flue gas stream produced by conventional fossil fuel-fired power plants after fuel combustion in air. In this approach, CO2 is separated from nitrogen (N2), the primary constituent of the flue gas. R&D is underway to develop technologies based on advanced solvents, sorbents, membranes, hybrid systems, and other novel concepts in post-combustion capture.

EOR ImagePre-Combustion Capture

Pre-Combustion capture systems are designed to separate CO2 and hydrogen (H2) from the syngas stream produced by the gasifier in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants. R&D is underway to develop technologies based on advanced solvents, sorbents, membranes, hybrid systems, and other novel concepts in pre-combustion capture.

Emerging Research Areas:

Hydrates ImageCapture from Industrial Sources

CO2 capture from industrial facilities, such petroleum refineries, iron and steel processing plants, and ethanol plants—in which CO2 emissions may be present at a higher concentration than coal-fired power plants—is a vital element in reducing CO2 emissions. R&D is underway to develop carbon capture technologies specific to industrial CO2 sources.

Offshore ImageNegative Emissions Technologies

Negative emissions technologies aim to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, with the resultant carbon stored or utilized. R&D is underway to develop chemical processes and materials for application of direct air capture (DAC), which allows for CO2 capture from all emissions sources to address both current and legacy emissions. This research area also includes investigating biomass co-firing to reduce emissions from coal-fueled power plants.


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NETL implements this effort as part of DOE’s Clean Coal and Carbon Management Program.

Carbon Capture Newsletter

Technology area contact:
Dan Hancu