Ramgen Power Systems has been awarded $20m (£12m) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to scale-up a device that uses supersonic shockwaves to compress CO2 for capture and storage (CCS).
The funding, from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), is expected to accelerate commercial deployment of the CO2compressor, dubbed the Rampressor, for CCS in most industrial settings.
Many industrial plants generate CO2during manufacturing processes. In the European Union, CCS is seen as one way of helping to meet emissions targets and there are plans to build 10 to 12 CCS plants in the region by 2015.
CCS works by capturing CO2 emitted from exhaust gases and storing it in saline formations, depleted oil-and-gas reservoirs, or unmineable coal seams.
A required step in this process is compressing the CO2 so it can be transported by pipeline or tankers to the place where it will be stored.
Current CO2 compression technologies are said to be costly, too large for many retrofits, and require substantial maintenance costs including additional electricity needed to run the compressors.
The Rampressor, however, employs a rotating disk that spins with enough speed to achieve supersonic compression effects in a stationary environment.
Compared with conventional CO2 compressors, the Rampressor is said to have fewer parts, a smaller footprint, and lower overall system costs.
Prior to receiving the new award, Ramgen collaborated with the NETL to design and build a 3,000hp compressor based on the new technology by January 2011.
With the extra funding, it expects to develop and test a 13,000hp compressor by the same date. The scaled-up device will be installed and tested with CO2 at Dresser-Rand’s testing facility in Olean, New York.