Can OSU’s carbon-capture technology help coal compete with renewables?

Coal-direct chemical looping (CDCL), a “promising technology under development at The Ohio State University,” can convert fossil fuels, including coal, into electricity without creating carbon dioxide pollution, Energy News Network reports. David Kraft, a fellow with power company Babcock & Wilcox, which is partnering with the university, said CDCL “has potential to transform the power and petrochemical industries,” according to the article. The technology involves metal oxide particles passing through high-pressure reactors to burn coal, biomass, or shale gas without the presence of oxygen. The CO2 is captured and can be used “for nanofibers or chemicals such as acetic acid or methanol.” Another outcome, synthesis gas, is “the technology’s likeliest near-term application, as it’s used as fuel in electricity-generating internal combustion engines” and the falling costs of renewable power generation make the economic viability of “clean coal” unclear. For more, read the full article

Biomass, Environmental, Shale

OSU and MIT granted $3 million in federal funding to research biomass as energy source

The Ohio State University (OSU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “will split $3 million” from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) “to study more efficient ways to use biomass for energy,” Columbus Business First reports. The funding is part of “$10 million of projects overall designed to promote biofuel and bioenergy research.” Researchers at OSU are trying to find “a more efficient way to turn biomass, or plant and animal waste, into synthetic gas,” according to the article. If they can develop a way to do this in a single step, it could “reduce capital costs for (synthetic gas) production by 44 percent compared to conventional purposes.” Last year, biomass accounted for 1.6 percent of energy production in the U.S., ahead of solar (0.6 percent) but behind wind (4.7 percent). Unlike renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar, however, biomass can be made into “liquid fuels like ethanol and biodiesel.” For more, read the full article

Biomass, Renewable Energy