An Overview of DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy Carbon Capture Program and Carbon Use and Reuse Program Activities

B. Anderson
U.S. Department of Energy,
United States

Keywords: Carbon capture, NETL


The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) Carbon Capture and Carbon Use and Reuse Programs is to develop the next generation of advanced CO2 capture and use/reuse concepts, respectively. Research and development (R&D) is underway to develop CO2 capture technologies employing advanced solvents, sorbents, membranes, and novel concepts. In addition, carbon use/reuse technologies that transform carbon recovered from power plant flue gas or other sources into beneficial goods and services are under development. The technologies being developed under both programs have the potential to provide step-change improvements in both cost and performance compared to current approaches. The success of the Carbon Capture Program in driving down the cost of captured CO2 has the potential to spur the deployment of CO2 utilization technologies by reducing the cost of feedstocks. The programs represent comprehensive, multipronged R&D approaches. R&D on a portfolio of technologies is being pursued to enhance the probability of success of research efforts that are operating at the boundaries of current scientific understanding. The research focus areas cover a wide scale, integrating advances and lessons learned from fundamental research, technology development, and pilot-scale testing.Considerable cost reductions have already been realized over the life of the Carbon Capture Program, particularly costs arising from the energy penalty associated with CO2 capture in power generation. Costs have decreased from over $100/tonne in 2005 to $57/tonne for currently-available technologies. The capture cost associated with the next generation of technologies is now approaching $40/tonne, and these are currently being tested at large-pilot scale. Cost targets for transformational technologies have been established at $30/tonne, and a portfolio of technologies are being tested with the intent to have them available for demonstration-scale testing around 2030. R&D associated with carbon use/reuse has focused on three main areas: • Conversion to biomass—uptake of CO2 by algae (or other organisms) followed by processing into useful products • Abiotic conversion of CO2 to form fuels and chemicals • Conversion of CO2 to form mineral compounds—largely for use in construction materials (e.g., cement and aggregate) There are currently over 100 active projects in the Carbon Capture and Carbon Use and Reuse Program portfolios pursuing advances along multiple pathways. Key projects will be summarized and case studies will be presented that relate to several developmental pathways.