National Energy Technology Lab Producing Cost-Effective Methods of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Technologies
By Chris Galford
March 21, 2020 - During a presentation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this week, director of the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) Brian Anderson discussed methods being pursued to assure cost-effective, clean as possible carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies.
NETL believes that such efforts mark a path forward to lowering U.S. carbon emissions costs — that people need not look at fossil fuels alone. The lab’s carbon capture efforts have yielded more than 180 second-generation R&D projects so far, according to Anderson, and cut the cost of carbon capture by nearly 50 percent, while reducing the amount of energy used by such technologies by nearly 20 percent. A revolutionary computational framework has also helped the lab to screen more than a million mixed matrix membranes and identify more promising selections for post-combustion carbon capture, which could decrease the cost of carbon capture by $15 per metric ton of CO2 removed.
“If you’re a good geoscientist, you can apply your skills in geothermal, carbon sequestration, oil & gas recovery, nuclear waste storage, or even seismic predictions. We do the same,” Anderson said. “The message I wanted to get across is that we’re more than just a fossil energy laboratory. Yes, we’re the fossil energy laboratory, but we’re applying our expertise across many energy sectors.”
Other programs being pursued by NETL include a Carbon Storage program which aims to install CO2 injection and containment throughout geologic storage complexes. Further, its Carbon Utilization program pushes R&D that would use CO2 to create chemicals, offset capture costs, promote clean and safe development of energy resources, and create new markets along the way. Even beyond these efforts, the lab is looking at things like materials engineering, fabrication, and computer technologies to spur greater energy efficiency and longer power plant service lives.
The presentation by Anderson, an MIT graduate, was a part of MIT’s Energy Initiative program.