It’s still in the early days, but we’re excited about a new partnership to research a novel way to capture carbon that could end up making a significant difference in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

You might recall that last month my colleague Vijay Swarup – vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company – highlighted the partnership we’ve entered into with FuelCell Energy, Inc. to capture greenhouse gas emissions from electric generating power plants.

Our idea is to use carbonate fuel cells to concentrate carbon dioxide at large-scale power plants, and in the process reduce emissions and increase electrical output. (Check out this infographic to get an idea how this might work.)

It’s a new twist that just might tackle the technology’s challenges with cost and scalability. The partnership between ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy aims to tackle these challenges and, as Vijay alliteratively put it last month, “bend the carbon-capture cost curve downward.”

Vijay and FuelCell Energy CEO Chip Bottone provided more details this morning during a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“The simple concept to take away is, you put this on the back end of a power plant, of a turbine, you concentrate the CO2, while generating power and creating some byproducts that could be valuable in other chemical processes,” Vijay explained. “It generates power, versus using power, which means you are moving forward as you concentrate the CO2 rather than going back.”

The center streamed and recorded the event, which offered an overview of the partnership’s plans going forward, as well as the key challenges and enablers in pursuing greater levels of carbon capture and storage.


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