Capturing carbon dioxide and imaginations: Jerry Lin leads next generation of researchers
An Arizona State University research team will work with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory to find ways to capture carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning electricity power plants more efficiently. Carbon dioxide capture is the most critical technology to mitigate global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The main drawbacks of the current technology is that it is too costly and it is too energy intensive.
The team, led by Jerry Y.S. Lin, a chemical engineering Regents’ Professor, has been awarded $2.5 million through the national laboratory’s Carbon Capture Program to support development and testing of transformational carbon dioxide capture systems for new and existing coal-based power plants.
Lin and researchers from Media and Process Technology, Inc., the University of Cincinnati and Nexant Inc., will use the federal funding to develop a membrane reactor with a hydrogen semi-permeable MFI-type zeolite for water-gas shift to produce hydrogen with carbon dioxide capture. The project will include first high temperature membrane reactor bench-scale field testing at the National Carbon Capture Center with real syngas, which is a fuel gas mixture made primarily of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
“The goal is to have a major impact on the development of efficient technology for pre-combustion carbon dioxide capture from fossil fuel burning power plants,” Lin says. “The membrane reactor technology will also have important impact on operations of chemical and petroleum plants by providing technologies to overcome limitations of singular, standard chemical reactors and gas treatment systems, such as those based on solvents, sorbents or membranes alone.”
The project will also work to encourage a broader audience to study chemical engineering. Lin is working with underrepresented students and postdoctoral scholars that will be trained to become leaders in membrane science and separation technologies. The results of research obtained in this project will be incorporated in courses for graduate students to keep them updated about the latest development in membrane science and advanced materials. The project will help introduce a membrane separation project for ASU’s “Science for Fun” outreach program to inspire high school students to pursuing an engineering degree.
“They are working on mathematical modeling, synthesis of membrane and catalyst, testing of membrane reactor operation, bench-scale testing and process design and technoeconomic analysis,” says Lin. “These are who will become future leaders in membrane science and technology.”
The funding is part of NETL’s Carbon Capture Program. This year NETL selected 16 projects to receive funding through the program. Support from the program allows for the development and testing of transformational carbon dioxide capture systems for new and existing coal-based power plants. Research funded by this program is expected to help overcome limitations of singular, standard gas treatment systems, such as those based on solvents, sorbents or membranes alone. It is also hoped it will lead to breakthrough technologies for efficient capture of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning power plants.
Erik Wirtanen, [email protected]
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering