SoCalGas and PNNL to receive carbon capture funding

Source: press release, 25 November 2019

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist David Heldebrant captures sulphur and carbon dioxide from test emission streams in a process called Reversible Acid Gas Capture (photo: PNNL)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist David Heldebrant captures sulphur and carbon dioxide from test emission streams in a process called Reversible Acid Gas Capture (photo: PNNL)

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have announced the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded USD 300,000 in funding to a project that would advance the development of a process called Integrated CO2 capture and conversion to methanol (ICCCM). Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) projects are an important component in helping California achieve its climate goal of having a “net zero” economy by 2045. CCU projects harnesses carbon before it can be emitted into the atmosphere. The carbon is then typically used to make chemicals that become resins and plastic materials.

The DOE funding for this project will be used to design, fabricate and demonstrate a modular ICCCM prototype for the combined capture and conversion of CO2 into methanol. As part of the research, the commercial viability of the prototype will also be assessed. The unit will be designed for installation at an industrial CO2 source, such as an electric generation or anaerobic digestion facility.

SoCalGas is committed to helping California achieve its ambitious climate goals. The utility has spent more than USD 10 million on the research and development of low or zero carbon technologies in the last three years.

“As we look for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of the state’s climate goals, we will need to develop cost-effective technologies that can capture and use CO2 to prevent it from reaching the atmosphere,” says Yuri Freedman, senior director of business development for SoCalGas. “The goal of this project is to determine whether ICCCM technology can be a cost-effective way to reduce emissions and it is our hope the results will show that it is.”

“At PNNL, we specialise in carbon capture and catalysis research and are thrilled to be collaborating with SoCalGas on developing a new and innovative capture and conversion technology and deploying this technology into the field,” says Dr David Heldebrant, who is co-leading this project and is PNNL chief scientist for separations materials. “Our role in this project is to design a continuous catalytic process that can take waste CO2 and repurpose it as a low carbon fuel or chemical feedstock with a large market size, such as a methanol.”