SwRI Receives Grant For CO-2 Compression Technologies

November 2011, Vol. 238 No. 11

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has received a $9.9 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy to design and test carbon dioxide compression using technologies developed under previous DOE phases of the improved compression technologies program.

The project consists of the design, construction and testing of a full-scale, multi-stage centrifugal compressor with internal cooling that is being co-funded by Dresser-Rand and SwRI, and a CO-2 liquefaction plant and a liquid pumping station that was developed by SwRI under a previous project. Researchers found this arrangement to be the lowest power means to boost the pressure of carbon dioxide emissions from pulverized coal, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and oxy-fuel power plants.

Because of growing concern over greenhouse gas emissions, the government and utilities are developing technologies to separate CO-2 both pre- and post-combustion. However, because of compression power requirements the penalty for CO-2 sequestration is significant — as much as 10% of a power plant’s energy output. Reducing the power requirement would improve overall plant efficiency and encourage sequestration of CO-2 at existing power plants and for future plant designs.

Under previous funding from DOE and industry partners, SwRI researchers investigated novel compression concepts that would boost the pressure of CO-2 to pipeline pressure levels with a minimal amount of energy required.