A method of generating electricity from coal and biomass has been developed by the Ohio State University that does not release any carbon dioxide.
A team at the university, led by Liang-Shih Fan, professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has developed a process called “chemical looping” which substitutes the oxygen needed to burn fossil fuels with metal dioxide particles, thus allowing companies to burn fossil fuels while capturing carbon dioxide.
The process generates heat to power turbines and produce electricity, while trapping carbon dioxide which is then used for industrial purposes without being released into the atmosphere.
Although the technology is relatively well established, the University’s work means that the recycled particles will last 8 months in comparison to the 8 days of continuous operation that the particles would last 5 years ago.
Fan said: “Renewables are the future,” he added: “We need a bridge that allows us to create clean energy until we get there — something affordable we can use for the next 30 years or more, while wind and solar power become the prevailing technologies.”
It has been widely argued that carbon capture technologies are essential to achieving global climate achievements, such as the Paris Agreement. A recent study from University College London (UCL) stated that failure to back the technology could make the cost of decarbonisation ‘unfeasible’.
These technologies are even more vital in the developing world, where 45% of new energy comes from coal, according to the International Energy Agency.