UK Lands $3-Million Grant To Lower Coal Burning Power Plant Emissions

Sep 30, 2013

Grant given to UK to reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants.
Grant given to UK to reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants.

LEXINGTON, Ky--The grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy will fund a 3 year project at the university with a goal of perfecting carbon-capturing.

  Rodney Andrews, the Director of UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research says coal run power plants produce about 14 percent carbon dioxide.  The goal is to remove the CO2 from the gases before it’s emitted into the atmosphere.

“Similar to if you leave a can of Coke in your car and it heats up and you pop the top and all the bubbles come out at once, that’s what we’re doing.  We’re boiling all that CO2 off.  But because we have selectively captured it, it’s now very high purity.  It can then be used for applications of CO2 or taken for sequestration and then we recycle the solvent around.”

There are dozens of uses for the carbon dioxide, including food grade like that used in soda, cleaning solutions and industrial uses.  Future uses would be for advance oil and gas recovery.

New EPA regulations require a sharp reduction in carbon emissions from new power plants.  Andrews says this technology would satisfy those requirements and could also be used in existing plants.  It will also help make coal more efficient and have a lower capital. 

According to Andrews, the technology is feasible but not ready for full-scale implementation.  The goal is to have viable technology available that can achieve a 90-percent carbon dioxide capture rate by the year 2020.