LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2018) — The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) was one of nine organizations selected to receive Phase I funding of a three-phase project as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilot program.
UK CAER will receive over $940,000 from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to advance its world-renowned carbon dioxide capture research and development.
According to principal investigator Kunlei Liu, this Phase I funding will allow UK CAER to advance its four-pronged CO2 capture system to a 10 megawatt scale. UK CAER’s Power Generation Research Group is a global leader in building, developing and demonstrating post-combustion carbon capture systems. In fact, UK CAER’s current 0.7 megawatt small pilot CO2 capture facility that operates at Kentucky Utilities’ E.W. Brown Generating Station in Burgin, Kentucky, has led to scientific and engineering breakthroughs in the field.
This new federal funding will allow UK CAER to advance that research by nearly 10 times, leaving the technology only one step away from commercialization.
“This project will allow us to leverage the unique carbon dioxide capture expertise we have developed at UK CAER over the past decade to tackle a new and exciting next step in its implementation,” said Heather Nikolic, a principal research engineer at UK CAER.
The center’s post-combustion system features modular equipment and free-standing columns with built-in advanced controls to continually minimize the CO2 capture energy penalty while responding to a dynamic external demand. The new system will combine several facets to simultaneously address capital cost, energy consumption, load change and environmental impact.
“I often remind our team that this project would not be possible without the many partners who have assisted us and collaborated with our researchers over the years,” said Liu, associate director for research at UK CAER and associate professor in UK’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “This project is another great example of that. In addition to our colleagues at DOE, we will be partnering with several institutions and industry partners to ensure success.”
Project collaborators include LG&E and Kentucky Utilities, Carbon Clean Solutions, University of Texas at Austin, Membrane Technology Research, Electric Power Research Institute, Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute, Koch Modular Process Systems, Worley Parsons and Smith Management Group.
"UK CAER has made many contributions to the scientific and engineering community, including through efforts to advance clean coal and carbon capture technologies, which are very important to Kentucky," said Sen. Mitch McConnell. "The University of Kentucky, under the leadership of President Eli Capilouto, continues to do impressive work on this issue, and I've been told its current carbon capture project is already producing results. I look forward to seeing what UK CAER is able to accomplish with these new federal resources."