In race to capture carbon dioxide, remember the need to use it  

Nov. 15, 2016

The capture and utilization of CO2 provides a unique opportunity to create jobs and build new markets -- and Illinois is leading the charge, according to ISTC Director Kevin OBrien.

ISTC Director Kevin OBrien spoke in Lausanne, Switzerland today on the importance of developing new uses for ‘waste’ carbon dioxideWhile research on economical technologies to capture and store CO2 is a priority at the University of Illinois and around the world, it is equally important to develop new approaches to monetize and utilize the gas as a commodity, O’Brien added in a presentation at the International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies (GHGT-13) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He outlined the Carbon Dioxide Utilization and Reduction (COOULR) Center being formed at the University’s Prairie Research Institute. He called this effort a model for other communities committed to creating jobs and accelerating economic engines.

The University’s openness to discovery and innovation, coupled with the U of I’s interest in becoming carbon neutral by 2050 makes for a fortunate confluence of factors. “There is a need to be able to explore a multitude of utilization approaches in order to identify a portfolio of potential utilization mechanisms,” he said. “This portfolio must be adapted based on the economy of the region.”

ISTC's COOULR centerThe Carbon Dioxide Utilization and Reduction (COOULR) Center being formed at the University's Prairie Research Institute.

A research effort like the COOULR Center “is one of the key steps in the formation of a market for captured CO2,” he added. “The goal of the Center is to not only evaluate technologies, but also demonstrate at a large pilot scale how communities may be able to monetize captured CO2.”

The GHGT Conference is held every two years by the International Energy Agency‘s (IEA) Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme. The IEA consists of the U.S. and 28 other industrialized nations that work to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy supplies.

Co-authors of the paper delivered by O’Brien are: Yongqi Lu, Sallie Greenberg, Randall Locke (Illinois State Geological Survey); Vinod Patel (ISTC); Michael Larson (U of I’s Abbott Power Plant); Krish R. Krishnamurthy, Makini Byron, Joseph Naumovitz (Linde LLC); and David S. Guth, Stephen J. Bennett (Affiliated Engineers Inc. (AEI)). The university team and the private partners are currently involved in major research projects to test advanced carbon capture systems at the University’s power plant.