ExxonMobil, a leading oil and gas company, announced on the 5th May that it would be teaming up with FuelCell Energy to develop new technology that would allow for carbon capturing at power plants.
The two companies will work together to advance new ways of applying CO2 capturing technologies in power facilities. This will involve the use of carbonate fuel cells. Carbonate fuel cells count potentially reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 70%. Carbon Capture technology has been at the forefront of groundbreaking methods of reducing emissions and lowering the currently dangerous levels of CO2 released into the atmosphere.
Exxon said that two years of laboratory tests have demonstrated that the unique integration of two existing technologies – carbonate fuel cells and natural gas-fired power generation – captures CO2 more efficiently than existing conventional capture technology. The potential breakthrough comes from an increase in electrical output using the fuel cells, which generate power, compared with a nearly equivalent decrease in electricity using conventional technology.
Vijay Swarup, vice-president of R&D at ExxonMobil Research & Engineering, said: “Our scientists saw the potential for this exciting technology for use at natural gas power plants to enhance the viability of carbon capture and sequestration while at the same time generating additional electricity.”
Exxon’s new partnership is viewed by some as an attempt to modernise its approach to carbon capture and environmentally safe energy practices. In recent years Total and Shell have been far more innovative, employing photovoltaic technology and CCS plants respectively. The project between FuelCell Energy and Exxon will initially span across one or two years, where both parties will look at methods of increasing the efficiency of separating and concentrating CO2 from the exhaust of gas-fired power turbines. After this, both parties will explore the possibility of a second phase which would take the shape of a small-scale pilot project.