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NETL-Supported Technology for Capturing CO2 from Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant Flue Gas Set for Key Testing
NETL experts and representatives of the Department of Energy (DOE) at the North Carolina visit.

NETL experts and representatives of the Department of Energy (DOE) visited North Carolina to review final preparations to ship and test a lower-cost transformational technology developed by CORMETECH Inc. that is designed to capture at least 95% of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flue gas of natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants.

The technology will soon be shipped from CORMETECH’s facilities in North Carolina for testing at the U.S. National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Alabama. The NCCC testing is considered an important step in scaling new technologies for use in large NGCC plants.

CORMETECH has received funding from DOE-NETL to develop the technology in a project titled Bench Scale Test of a Polyethyleneimine Monolith Carbon Capture Process for Natural Gas Combined Cycle Point Sources (DE-FE0032138). This type of capture at the emissions source is referred to as point source capture because it involves separating CO2 from the flue gases emitted by industrial facilities and power plants before it enters the atmosphere.

CORMETECH is prominent in the design, manufacture, and life-cycle management of technologies that clean the air of pollutants linked to climate change. This specific technology approach uses a monolithic amine contactor to capture CO2 from natural gas combined cycle point sources. 

The monolith is a honeycomb structure with tiny flow channels for flue gas to pass through. The CO2 within the flue gas adsorbs to the amine (polyethyleneimine) that is contained within the monolith’s internal porous structure. The CO2 is later desorbed using steam for subsequent storage or use. The process is like Global Thermostat’s leading direct air capture process but incorporates modifications that enable its application at NGCC plants.

NETL has supported the project through its Point Source Carbon Capture Program, which helps develop technologies for carbon capture from power and industrial sectors using a variety of approaches. This research and development will support the United States in achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a 100% clean electricity sector by 2035.

The CORMETECH project was among 12 projects awarded a total of $45 million in federal funding to advance point-source carbon capture and storage technologies that can capture at least 95% of CO2 emissions generated from natural gas power and industrial facilities.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas is the most prevalent energy source used for electricity generation in the United States. Of the 491 gigawatts of natural gas-fired electric-generating capacity in the country, more than half are combined-cycle systems that include both steam turbines and combustion turbines.

NETL is a sponsor of NCCC, a world-class, neutral test facility focused on accelerating the development and commercialization of next-generation carbon reduction technologies for fossil-based power plants. Since its creation by DOE in 2009, the center has been a cornerstone of U.S. innovation in the research and development of cost-effective, technically viable carbon management technologies.

According to NCCC, it has completed more than 150,000 hours of technology testing for carbon capture innovators, leading to significant scale-ups, process enhancements and technological breakthroughs. Based on pilot testing and development of more than 75 technologies, the center has already reduced the projected cost of carbon capture from fossil-based power generation by more than 40%.

Managed and operated by Southern Company, the center has worked with more than 50 government, university, and research organizations from seven countries.

NETL drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By using 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.