New research for storing carbon dioxide

3.4 million SEK to new research project at Mälardalen University

Feb 21, 2013 | Research/Cooperation

Increasing emissions of carbon dioxide are driving the greenhouse effect and climate changes. But the technology exists for capturing and storing carbon dioxide in the ground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. In a new project, researchers from Mälardalen University will develop and refine this technology.

Today’s carbon dioxide emissions from cars, factories and power stations are having a negative impact on our climate. At the same time we are dependent on energy sources such as oil and coal, and there is no possibility for society to convert to renewable energy sources overnight.

- We need more short-term solutions that can help us to use fossil fuels in a way that doesn’t pollute. This gives us time to develop future technologies and infrastructures that are based on renewable energy, says Jinyue Yan, Professor of Energy Engineering at Mälardalen University.

Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS, is a technology for restoring coal to the ground. It works as a sort of cycle in which the carbon that was originally extracted from the bedrock in the form of gas, oil or coal is returned in the form of carbon dioxide. In power stations and industries the carbon dioxide is separated, transported by pipeline and finally pumped down into the ground for long-term storage.

- When coal or oil is burnt flue gas, which is a mixture of several different compounds, is formed. To be able to capture and store the carbon dioxide from the flue gases we need to know what properties the mixtures have. Therefore we are now starting a project to develop methods for being able to determine the properties of carbon dioxide mixtures in a reliable way, says Jinyue Yan.

The project has been granted 3.4 million SEK in research funding from the Swedish Energy Agency. The purpose of the project is to increase knowledge of the properties of carbon dioxide mixtures at different pressures and temperatures, and how the mixtures behave in processes for capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

- This can be compared to boiling water. Pure water boils at 100 degrees, but if we add salt the water no longer boils at the same temperature. In the same way it varies as to how carbon dioxide acts in different types of mixtures. This knowledge does not exist today and has great significance for finding efficient processes for capturing and storing carbon dioxide, both for what is technically possible and economically reasonable, says Jinyue Yan.