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NETL Project Partner Develops Transformational Carbon Capture Technology Based on Mixed Salts
SRI International’s mixed salt process is seen here (bottom right) at engineering scale.

In the photo above: SRI International’s mixed salt process is seen here (bottom right) at engineering scale. 

SRI International, with oversight from NETL, is developing a transformational carbon capture technology that leverages an advanced mixed-salt process (MSP) to reduce capture costs and provide a pathway toward the nation’s decarbonization goals. 

“The technology SRI International and their partners are developing has the potential to significantly reduce the energy needed to regenerate the carbon capture solvent and compress the CO2 product, thereby reducing costs” said Krista Hill, NETL federal project manager for the project.

Hill, a West Virginia native, earned her master’s in chemistry at the University of Oregon and then returned to her home state to join NETL’s carbon capture team in Morgantown. With a diverse background in materials research and development, project management, business development and STEM education, Hill is well-positioned to bring expertise and a unique perspective to the DOE-NETL mission. 

“Carbon management is an interdisciplinary problem,” Hill said. “It’s important to collaborate with diverse teams of experts and use a multifaceted approach to tackle the dynamic, complex issues surrounding decarbonization.”

The SRI International project presents several challenges and opportunities that align with Hill’s background. For example, her chemistry expertise is being brought to bear on the unique carbon capture solvent under development, which contains potassium carbonate and ammonium salts and methyl diethanolamine (MDEA) to aid low-temperature regeneration and high CO2 loading. 

Hill explained the MSP has several advantages. “Compared to traditional processes, SRI’s process offers reduced energy consumption, enhanced carbon capture efficiency, and could provide flexible carbon capture operation. The technology is suitable for treating flue gas from natural gas-fired power plants and industrial flue gas streams with varying CO2 concentration,” she said.  

The SRI International team includes an array of partners from around the globe, including the Technical University of Denmark and SINTEF in Norway, who are working together on lab- and bench-scale research to eventual pilot testing. NETL support of this technology development led to SRI licensing the technology to Baker Hughes, a major cost-share contributor on the project. The SRI MSP will soon be tested at engineering scale at the University of Illinois Abbott Power Plant in a 0.5 megawatt electric (MWe) equivalent pilot campaign. 

“NETL provides a critical role in energy technology development because our work and support are the catalyst that intersects technology, industry and public policy,” she said. “There’s potential here to deliver high-impact benefits to the public. For me, it’s a privilege to be involved with projects like this that are delivering technology-based solutions, particularly considering the current environmental and energy challenges we face.”

As the nation continues to transition to a clean energy economy, federal project managers like Hill and other highly skilled experts at NETL are helping to develop clean energy technologies, assisting with problem-solving and evaluating and managing project risk, as well as defining, soliciting, negotiating, awarding, managing and delivering federally sponsored research and development benefits to the nation.  

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.