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Fossil Fuels Dr_KJ_Reddy

Published on May 11th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer

32

CCS Pioneer Reddy Patents New CO2 Sequestration Tech

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May 11th, 2011 by
 

A long-running utility-scale pilot capturing CO2 from the flue gas of a 2,120 MW coal fired power plant in Wyoming is succeeding in capturing about a third of the carbon dioxide by mineralizing it in fly ash, according to a report at Energy Prospects.

It is no mere lab test. Dr KJ Reddy, a professor at the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, is the pioneer in taking highly alkaline ash from oil shale combustion to a more stable state to be more environmentally friendly, and his pioneering research, published over the last three decades in the Journal of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, laid the groundwork for mineral carbonation studies by other scientists, engineers and researchers. These studies are the basis for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies.

His new CCS process (SequesTech) has now run continuously for 7 years in a 2,120 MW coal plant, removing 25 to 30 percent of the CO2 from 300 to 500 standard cubic feet per minute of flue gas with a concentration of 11 to 12.5 percent CO2.

The process sequesters CO2 emissions in fly ash in the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants. Reddy’s three decades of research on speeding up the natural process of CO2 absorption by mineralization is the basis of the development.

He hopes his SequesTech process will be ready for commercial application “within a year or so.” He said the technology is estimated to cost $10 to $12 per ton of mineralized (sequestered) CO2.

“The ash, or fly ash, serves as a sink for the CO2,” Reddy said of his process, which runs flue gas through a fluidized bed reactor containing fly ash captured by a coal plant’s bag houses. “In turn, the CO2 fixes the toxic and heavy metals in the ash. This is a natural process, but very slow. So we needed to figure out how to speed it up.”

Unlike other carbon capture processes being considered, which would require additional energy to isolate, pressurize, transport and inject CO2 deep under ground, this uses no energy, other than to run the fans that blow the flue gas through the reactors. It also binds the carbon, making it safer than sequestration. The fly ash used to sequester the CO2 and other pollutants could also still be used safely in most traditional fly ash applications, such as gypsum.

Reddy’s SequesTech process is also capturing most of the SO2 and 80% of flue gas mercury as well – making this a potential game changer for climate protection – because regardless of how it quibbles over carbon, the coal industry already has to use some means to reduce its mercury and SO2. This kills 3 birds with one stone.

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Rick Kargaard

    I am a little concerned with the idea of shutting down all coal fired plants quickly. I believe about 44% of electricity in the U.S. is supplied by coal and clean alternatives must be in place or drastic reductions in use will be required.
    Remember that manufacturing wind generators and solar arrays requires energy and resources. Of course much of that could be done in countries that do not rely on coal power, but that would be very damaging to the U.S. economy and sharply reduce the enthusiasm for clean power.
    I agree that coal burning power is one of the biggest carbon dioxide emitters but I also agree with bob that market forces can slow their use as long as alternatives can be provided cheaply. The best route, in my opinion, is to lobby for more support for research and for risk mitigation for wind and solar projects. Anything to encourage investment in these sources.
    Of course as I have said so many times, the reduction of consumption would have the biggest overall effect. Put your money and effort where it can have the most effect.

    • Bob_Wallace

      We won’t shut all the coal plants down quickly. The 150 closing now are less than 25% of our total capacity.

      Coal plants won’t be closed quicker than backup generation is in place. Keeping the grid operating 24/365 is the number one priority.

      Coal dropped to 36% in 2012 but moved back up to 40% in 2013 due to higher gas prices.

      Solar and wind already generate more electricity per year than it takes to manufacture the year’s worth of solar panels and wind turbines.

      What we really need is a price on carbon. Start it low and ramp it up over a few years until coal and natural gas, even in paid off plants, are more expensive than new wind and new solar. Make it high enough so that a few years from now storage would be cheaper than using natural gas.

      But Americans are not ready to put a price on carbon. We haven’t done a good enough job of educating people about the true cost of burning coal and the dangerous cost of climate change.

      Hopefully we’re not like my uncles who didn’t heed the warnings and didn’t stop smoking until after they had emphysema.

      • Rick Kargaard

        Using solar and wind to manufacture more solar and wind does not reduce the need for power. In fact, any extra manufacturing increases it.
        I don,t believe a tax on carbon would have much effect on usage and may take dollars away from the very people who can invest in clean power and away from the poor. Americans and Canadians are the biggest consumers in the world and as a result are the largest carbon dioxide emitters. When it is no longer acceptable for a couple to live in a 3000 sg. ft. house, drive 3 SUVs, and fly all over at will, then energy use will drop.
        In the meantime building zero energy houses, replacing gas vehicles with electric and risking your dollars on investments in clean energy sources can make a big difference.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Using solar and wind to manufacture more solar and wind does not reduce the need for power. In fact, any extra manufacturing increases it.”

          We’ve got enough wind and solar capacity on line to allow us to build more while using no fuel. We can look at that in terms of bootstrapping wind/solar manufacturing. We’ve used all the fossil fuels necessary to maintain the industries and now we’re building fossil fuel replacement.

          “I don,t believe a tax on carbon would have much effect on usage and may take dollars away from the very people who can invest in clean power and away from the poor.”

          The idea is not to use a carbon tax to cut consumption, but to cut sourcing. Make electricity from fossil fuels more expensive to utilities so that they turn to renewables

          We can do that and use the revenue from the carbon price to subsidize the cost of electricity for all consumers which would mean hurting neither the poor nor the overall economy.

          With every lump of coal we burn we make our climate problem worse. We need to force generation away from fossil fuels and increase efficiency at the same time.

          • Rick Kargaard

            You are so right that generation must be moved away from fossil fuel but I do not believe there will ever be the political will or the public support to force it.
            I am a firm believer in encouragement over methods designed to force change. It is much easier to sell politically and to the general public.
            Resource development provides large revenue streams to government and this will have to be replaced.
            One of my biggest fears is that governments will have to find ways to tax electric cars to replace revenue from gasoline taxes
            A temporary fix would be higher gasoline taxes but it is going to be a diminishing revenue stream.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think the odds of a carbon tax/price are at least 99%.

            But when is the real question. How much more pain will we subject ourselves to before we insist that the government do something to slow climate change?

            Put another way, how deep will the water have to get in our cabins before we insist the captain start the crew bailing?

            I have little doubt that we’re on our way to a ~100% renewable grid and transportation system. But we’re moving way too slowly. We should have listened to Jacobson and Archer in 2009 and now have the first 3 or 4 years of a 20 year transition behind us. We don’t yet have the “first year” work done.

            The government makes money on resource development but probably spends more on the external cost of fossil fuels. Add in the cost of our three oil wars and there’s no “probably” about it.

            Moving off fossil fuels would cut government expenses.

            Charging EVs for road use is reasonable. It would be nice if governments held off for a few years as a way to encourage sales, but in the long run drivers should pay for road use.

          • Rick Kargaard

            Just a thought, but wouldn’t charging higher royalty rates on resources have a similar effect.
            One of the problems of getting public support is that so many jobs and livlihoods depend directly and indirectly on the energy and resource industries. Governments would rather deal with the devil they know rather than with what may happen in the future.
            First you have to convince people that climate change will cause changes that cannot be dealt with and secondly they must be convinced that there is time to do something about it.
            Alarmists have made that very difficult by predicting catastrophe very quickly. Some of their predictions already shown to be wrong by time.
            I myself do not believe Climate change should be the major motivater, but just one more urgent reason for conserving resources.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Increasing the rate on fossil fuels from public lands would mostly increase extraction from private resources.

            The majority of American citizens are already concerned about climate change and are willing to see money spent to combat it. But due largely to gerrymandered redistricting the minority swings more weight than it should in Congress.

            The number of climate scientists who have predicted things happening too quickly is very small. Overall climate models have predicted slower change than what we’ve observed. No one was predicting the first summer melt out of Arctic sea ice for a hundred years or go. Now we’re looking at a very possible melt out before 2020.

            It’s too bad you don’t believe that climate change should be the major reason to move off fossil fuels. That tells us that you don’t understand what we’re doing to ourselves.

          • Rick Kargaard

            Attack the argument.
            Al Gore and David Suzuki are widely listened to if not believed.
            And I think it is too bad if you do not believe that the conservation of finite resources is not of critical importance. I think the future will show that we will be out of reasonably priced raw material quite quickly at current usage. It is only technology that has kept our supply of oil from running out but it is getting expensive enough to make wind and solar attractive.
            In a few short years it will be the developing nations that will be the biggest consummers and I don’t think we will be in a position to compete with them as that is where many of our resources come from now.
            Okay, that is a bit of an alarmist view in itself but resources such as copper are essential for electric cars and wind generation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you don’t want people to note your lack of knowledge then don’t display it.

            Better yet, learn more.

            As we run out of oil and coal we will find alternatives. Were climate change not an issue we would move to renewables out of necessity eventually.
            The problem is that climate change is happening so rapidly that we can’t wait.

            Well, we can wait but we’ll pay a huge price for our lagging.

            The CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere is accumulating. It doesn’t stay up there for a year or two and fall out. We are changing the way our climate and weather operate. The new climate will not be so much fun.

          • Rick Kargaard

            Well, thanks for the conversation, and I have learned a lot form you, but at this point you are straying from reasonable argument. Thanks anyway. I enjoy your input and appreciate you viewpoint.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So in your world science is unreasonable and fossil fuel industry sponsored crap is reasonable?

  • Anonymous

    Susan – you might find this an interesting read…

    “4. Legislators are aware that while (cutting) the PTC would cost
    U.S. jobs, removing incentives from the oil and gas industry is
    unlikely to do so.

    “[Cutting oil and gas incentives
    won’t result in] a loss of jobs in the industry because of the profit
    margins. I think it would be hard to argue that if the PTCs weren’t
    extended, there would be no job impacts. I think there would be. There
    would be a loss of green jobs.”

    5. The political base for renewables differs from that of the fossil fuel industries, but that is changing.

    “Renewable energy has bipartisan support. The oil and gas industry has
    strong support in certain states. In Congress, it’s better to have a
    handful of really strongly motivated people than a lot of more tepid
    support,” Kelliher said, but “in North Dakota, Republican or Democrat,
    they know the wind industry is important to the state,” he added. “We’re
    starting to see some of that same kind of regional support that’s
    strongly motivated and that’s really important in Congress.”””

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ten-insider-tips-on-what-renewable-energy-can-expect-before-the-next-electi/

  • http://importantmedia.org Important Media Umbrella Acct

    nice additional comments here, David. i completely agree

  • Anumakonda Jagadeesh

    God Process Dr. Dr K J Reddy. Congratulations.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  • Anonymous

    This might be an awful development.

    30% of the CO2 is not enough if it means that we keep burning coal at the rate we now do. But the coal industry will declare “Problem Solved!!!” and utility companies will try to keep running their paid off coal plants.

    We need to get coal off the grid and replace it with truly clean energy.

    • BlueRock

      Yup. And we also shouldn’t be distracted from the fact that coal is dirty at *every* stage, starting with mining.

      There’s only one solution for coal: don’t mine and burn coal.

      • Susan Kraemer

        In an ideal world run by sensible democracies, sure, I would decree 0% coal. But we don’t live in one any more now (maybe if climate change had been discovered during the Enlightenment of the 18th century, before we invented Fox News), and democracies will get even weaker over the next few decades as climate change and peak oil brutalize us even more.

        But r

        educing our coal to supplying some small portion that is politically possible (with
        bribes?), say to about 15
        % of electricity (down from its current 44%), and then cutting the CO2 30%
        from that, would be better than driving the fossil industry
        to creating fascism by demanding 0% coal.

        I don’t know what the exact effect on GHGs would be of supplying 15% of electricity from coal that emits
        60% of its current emissions would be (compared with 44% of electricity from coal emitting 100%) but it might be low
        enough to make
        a safe climate.

        • Anonymous

          Here, in the US, we don’t have the political ability to simply close coal plants. But we are (have been) in the process of closing them based on cost. We have been able to use existing environmental laws to force coal plants to make expensive modifications and that has priced coal out of the market.

          TVA recently agreed to close roughly 6% of the country’s coal plants. That, alone, would move coal from the mid-40% into the 30% range.

          If Reddy’s solution works then the cost of cleaning the non-carbon emissions drops close to zero, the financial pressure to close plants disappears, and we’re stuck with lots of “70% nasty” coal on our grid.

          • Susan Kraemer

            As always, Bob, you have an excellent point… but don’t you think there is a connection between how close we did get to shutting down coal in those few months when sensible government had a brief 60 vote majority, and the “raging Tea Party” that has been unleashed by the fossil industry since? I just don’t think that realistically, the coal industry is willing to be shut down by the majority of voters in the US using mere laws,because combined with oil and gas, the fossil industry is the most powerful sector on the planet – far more powerful than any government.

          • Susan Kraemer

            I mean, that “existing environmental laws to force coal plants to make expensive modifications” are endangered now and in the future. Citizens United ruling has ended the possibility of electing a sensible majority again, and these are already being dismantled. Look at the EPA budget cuts and that’s while we still nominally can stop them at the Senate.

          • Susan Kraemer

            I mean, that “existing environmental laws to force coal plants to make expensive modifications” are endangered now and in the future. Citizens United ruling has ended the possibility of electing a sensible majority again, and these are already being dismantled. Look at the EPA budget cuts and that’s while we still nominally can stop them at the Senate.

          • Anonymous

            We had 60 Democratic senators for 96 days, but some of those Democratic senators were from fossil fuel states and were in the position of either supporting their local job producers or turning their seats over to Republicans.

            We’re very unlikely to see coal plants shut by getting a law through Congress. There’s not only the “protect our state’s economy”, there’s the “greenies are for it, we’ve got to be against it” crap that comes with a two party system.

            I don’t think the EPA is in danger unless we give the right wing control over both Houses and the White House in 2012, and neither are looking likely.

            I think our route away from coal is the one laid out by the Google Guys. Make renewables cheaper than coal and let market pressures kill coal.

            Reddy’s solution may make the job harder.

            (Fossil fuel industry strength will wane as the renewable energy/EV industries grow in size. Wind is already spending noticeable money on lobbying.)

          • Susan Kraemer

            Re getting a majority; keeping and strengthening EPA laws; google approach; more lobby power from clean energy – hope your intuition about the future is right! Mine is more pessimistic: assuming worst case political scenario that we seem to headed for: what is our best option?

          • Anonymous

            Considering a worst case political scenario (I avoid assuming the worst) –

            Wind is already as cheap as, or cheaper than coal. Solar is on a seemingly unstoppable path to becoming so. Were the anti-green forces to seize 100% control of the US government the most they could likely do is to eliminate subsidies for renewables. That would slow renewable installation, but not stop it. Wind and solar will win out over coal and natural gas because they have zero fuel costs.

            Subsidies for EVs could vanish, but it is probably too late for that to kill EVs. The general opinion seems to be that once EVs reach the 500,000 to 1,000,000 unit per year manufacturing level battery prices will drop enough to make EV prices roughly the same as ICEVs. Nissan is tooling up to produce 500,000 Leafs next year, Volt increasing production to 120,000 in 2012 and Ford building an assembly line for lots of Focus EVs in 2012. In the short term EV manufactures will sell more cars outside the US but as oil prices continue to climb and EV prices fall US drivers will switch.

            What a 100% anti-green federal government might do is to slow the transition away from fossil fuels, I don’t think they could stop it. Look at what is happened on the state level. In ‘conservative’ states fossil fuel interests have been unable to pass legislation to curtail wind farms.

            And don’t overlook the fact that Europe as well as much of Asia and South America are going green. Without our help they will finance the R&D.

            Worst case?

            A 100% Republican, anti-green federal government will slow America’s entry into the 21st economy and cost us a lot of good green jobs.

            A 100% Republican, anti-green federal government will speed the decline of the US economy.

            Europe and China will eat our lunch while we focus on hating non-whites, non-straights , non-males and those who don’t pray in an acceptable
            manner.

          • Anonymous

            Let me throw in something that I just saw on the web…


            VW earlier said it plans to locally produce the zero-emission EV
            model in China between 2013 and 2014 through its Chinese joint ventures.

            VW expects China to lead in the global EV market by 2018 under a
            blueprint to mass produce EV as part of its global E-mobility strategy
            unveiled in March 2010.

            The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology certified
            FAW-Volkswagen’s electric vehicle under the Kaili brand on May 3,
            according to VW’s statement.

            “The Chinese government has been encouraging joint ventures of
            foreign car manufactures to develop indigenous brands,” the statement
            said.

            VW is among car makers rushing to produce green cars amid the growing
            global awareness of environment protection and energy efficiency. In
            2009, VW signed partnership deal with BYD to jointly develop hybrid and
            electric cars powered by lithium-ion batteries.”

            http://business.globaltimes.cn/industries/2011-05/654338.html

            Daimler (the folks who make Mercedes) also has a partnership with BYD to produce EVs. Renault has partnered with Nissan to build EVs.

            Europe and Asia are going on without us.

          • Susan Kraemer

            As always, Bob, you have an excellent point… but don’t you think there is a connection between how close we did get to shutting down coal in those few months when sensible government had a brief 60 vote majority, and the “raging Tea Party” that has been unleashed by the fossil industry since? I just don’t think that realistically, the coal industry is willing to be shut down by the majority of voters in the US using mere laws,because combined with oil and gas, the fossil industry is the most powerful sector on the planet – far more powerful than any government.

        • BlueRock

          > …and democracies will get even weaker over the next few decades as climate change and peak oil brutalize us even more.

          Yes, that reality has only dawned on me recently. Not a pleasant thought.

          P.S. I made a a long reply several hours ago. It went to moderation because I included some links. Can you set it free, please? :)

          • http://cleantechnica.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

            Sorry, I don’t see it in the back of the store here. It is good and gone, wherever it went. I don’t have much control over the new comment system, in any case.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

            i got it. it does go to a different place, and sorry for the delay… you have been “whitelisted” (thought i whitelisted you before, but maybe you had signed in with different info,.. twitter?) should be good to go now. thank you for the useful comments.

        • Anonymous

          “In an ideal world run by sensible democracies, sure, I would decree…”

          An odd definition of democracy.

          As described, this would make coal about as clean as natural gas. “[A]n awful development” is not the characterization that comes to my mind at the prospect of reducing US coal power emissions — more importantly, reducing China’s coal emissions — by 30% for $10/t_CO2.

          • Anonymous

             It’s not the 30% decrease in CO2. 

            It’s the potential ability to spin that into a tale of “clean coal” which can be used to extend our use of coal.

            Natural gas will die an easier death because it is dispatchable.  If there is available fuel-free electricity available on the market then buyers will grab the fuel-free first.  NG use will dwindle over time.

            Coal plants are not dispatchable.  A utility which owns a coal plant and doesn’t need additional generation isn’t going to consider building wind or solar to save fuel costs since they’ve got to keep the coal plant running anyway. 

            They won’t be able to save appreciable money with renewables and will argue that their “clean coal” is just as clean as the next guy’s natural gas plant.

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