Carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and change in land use are forcing a rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 levels leading to climate change. The initial implementation of plans to reduce the levels of CO2 is based on a combination of increased use of renewable energy and the implementation of carbon capture and storage from industrial sources and power plants on a wide scale.
Such actions are not sufficient for preventing the cross with the maximum limit CO2 concentration in atmosphere (550ppm), which is foreseen for 2060.
CO2 capture directly from the atmosphere (air capture) would provide an option to accelerate the correction and possibly reverse the trend in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
The 2008 Climate Change Act sets a legally binding target of 80% CO2 emissions reductions by 2050. To meet this challenge the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) issues regular carbon budgets with recommendations on the way in which the UK needs to reduce its emissions. In its 2010 4th carbon budget, there is a clear plan for power sector decarbonation to 2030, by investing in 30-40 GW of low carbon capacity with a value of the order of £100 billion. This would drive average emissions from generation down to around 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 and includes 4 CCS demonstration plants by 2020.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) processes are the only option for decarbonising fossil fuel power plants at large scale. Co-gasification with biomass or waste with carbon capture can reduce the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere at large stationary emission sources. The technology can also reduce the specific operating cost, and ensure fuel supply.
This project is aimed to develop a novel process for producing ultrapure hydrogen from synthesis gas originating from coal gasification. The coal-to-H2 process is integrated with a pre-combustion carbon capture process for de-carbonising the syngas and the integration results in improving H2 yield at the H2 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA).
To address the need for effective vis response photocatalysts, we have synthesised WO3 and TiO2 nanowires to provide a fast transport channel for the photo-generated electrons which can retard the charge recombination. We are working on improving the visible activity of the catalysts through modifying the nanocomposites using metal (Ag, W, V, Fe, Ni) and non-metal (C, N, B, S) elements, and through the control over the microstructure or even over the crystal phase.
The general objective of CleanCOALtech project is: to create and develop an educational and training system for promoting, developing and implementing clean coal technologies, through knowledge and best practices shared from advanced EU country – UK to South-East European region – Romania and Greece in order to provide high performance and innovation in the vocational education and training systems and to raise stakeholders level of knowledge and skills.
Enhanced oil/gas recovery and CO2 storage are a displacement process at pore scale, in which oil and gas are displaced by water or CO2 in reservoir at pore scale, or water is displaced by CO2 in aquifers at pore scale. This displacement is controlled by pore structure, pore wettability, pore surface chemistry, fluid viscosity and interfacial interaction between pore fluids and pore surfaces. The displacement controls the pore connectivity, therefore oil/gas recovery and CO2 storage capacity. We investigate the displacement and the effect of various factors on the displacement at pore scale and core scale.
New ideas for carbon capture are urgently needed to combat climate change. Retro-fitting post-combustion carbon capture to existing power plants has the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions considering these sources make the largest contribution to CO2 emissions in the UK. Unfortunately, carbon capture methods based on existing industrial process technology for separation of CO2 from natural gas streams (i.e. amine scrubbing) would be extremely expensive if applied on the scale envisaged, as exemplified by the recent collapse of the Government's CCS project at Longannet power station. Moreover, many of the chemical absorbents used, typically amines, are corrosive and toxic and their use could generate significant amounts of hazardous waste. So, more efficient and 'greener' post-combustion CCS technologies are urgently needed if CCS is to be adopted on a global scale.
The Gas-FACTS programme will provide important underpinning research for UK CCS development and deployment on natural gas power plants, particularly for gas turbine modifications and advanced post combustion capture technologies that are the principal candidates for deployment in a possible tens-of-£billions expansion of the CCS sector between 2020 and 2030, and then operation until 2050 or beyond, in order to meet UK CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission targets.