Ohio Researchers Unveil Emissions-Free Method of Extracting Energy from Coal

by , 02/22/13

Ohio State University research, Ohio coal research, clean coal, coal greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide coal, US fossil fuels, environmental destruction, Coal-Direct Chemical Looping (CDCL), syngas, crushed coal “feedstock”

Researchers at Ohio State University have discovered a new way to extract energy from coal while preventing 99 percent of the carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. The technique, called Coal-Direct Chemical Looping (CDCL), harnesses coal’s energy without burning it. This new groundbreaking technology, which could revolutionize one of the dirtiest industries on the planet, will be tested at a larger-scale pilot plant currently under construction in Alabama.

Ohio State University research, Ohio coal research, clean coal, coal greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide coal, US fossil fuels, environmental destruction, Coal-Direct Chemical Looping (CDCL), syngas, crushed coal “feedstock”

Ohio State University researchers have developed a clean coal technique that produces heat while removing virtually all of the pollution. Conventional coal combustion processes consume oxygen to make steam, which turns giant turbines and sends power down electric lines.

While this old-fashioned technology produces large amounts of hazardous carbon dioxide, the new method is almost completely free from greenhouse gas emissions. Coal is chemically combusted in a sealed chamber from which pollutants can’t escape. The only waste product is coal ash, water and recyclable metal from iron-oxide.

The technology is based on the use of tiny iron-oxide beads that cause a chemical reaction by carrying oxygen to the fuel. The mixture is then heated to high temperatures and carbon dioxide rises into a chamber where it’s captured, leaving only hot iron particles and coal ash behind. The difference in size makes the iron and coal ash particles easy to separate and allows the reuse of the metal beads.

The nine-day experiment with coal-direct chemical looping was a success, according to Dr. Liang-Shih Fan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of Ohio State’s Clean Coal Research Laboratory.

“We voluntarily chose to stop the unit. We actually could have run longer, but honestly, it was a mutual decision by Dr. Fan and the students. It was a long and tiring week where we all shared shifts,” said doctoral student Elena Chung.

+ The Ohio State University

Via Slashdot

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  1. Maianna Fitzgerald February 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Very disappointing. Coal is still dirty fuel. Mountain tops get removed, coal dust huge areas in transport. People die mining it, both in inhaling the dust and in accidents to name a few problems.

  2. swesley February 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Zero Emissions has been accomplished before and its great others are seeing it possible, but the main question still unanswered is, ” Where and what do you do with the syngas produced during the processing?”

    Our company MP BioMass – takes the syngas and can produce three renewable energy sources from it, making the process cleaner and with a very profitable ROI. Also, there is NO coal ash produced from the thermal chemical processing. Plus, any coal ash produced in the past can be eliminated with our processing. http://www.mpbiomass.com

    We do have an international patent, first commercialized plant was introduced in 2003, and we are backed with a guarantee and insurance that our system will do what it says it will do, by the SACE Group. We have the ear of many industrial plants in the US and overseas.

  3. ankualex February 23, 2013 at 6:55 am

    @Rich Gately
    Theay eat it!

  4. HereOnce February 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    They heat it to very high temperature… so something has to make the fire or electricity. I really thought this was going to be something like how coke is made. By igniting the fuel in a closed system with some ventilation > goes to capture system, absorber, catalytic converter etc. The coke process burns pretty hot, and it makes carbon bricks for steel production. I always thought if carbon dioxide could be captured, it could be piped or shipped to steel production and used in place of coke. The Co2 then combines with iron to make steel and is captured there. Just wandering thoughts.
    Oh hey, look what just popped up: “Researchers Build Machine That Turns CO2 Into Fuel”. Ask and the answers arrive! http://inhabitat.com/new-machine-turns-co2-into-fuel/

  5. ahinalu February 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    looks like it might be captured in the form of iron oxide and carbon?

  6. ahinalu February 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    From what I can gather it might be captured by the iron beads in the form of iron oxide/carbon?

  7. RemyC February 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Well, we can only hope the coal industry doesn’t sit on the science, park it so that it can’t threaten existing power plants. The inventors and the financiers willing to take a risk will have to sell the coal workers unions on this, that will probably be the most difficult part of introducing this new technology to the market place.

  8. Barbara Ettles Carter February 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    The carbon dioxide is captured? And what happens to it then? Is it released somewhere?

  9. Rich Gately February 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Then what do they do with the CO2 that has been captured ?

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