ExxonMobil launches venture for low-cost carbon capture

New York (AFP) –


Oil giant ExxonMobil said Thursday it was starting a new venture that could make carbon-dioxide capture a more economically attractive way to fight global warming.

ExxonMobil said its new agreement with FuelCell Energy aims to develop technology for capturing carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants using fuel cells.

The idea is that the fuel cells could generate the additional electricity needed for the carbon-capture process, eliminating at least part of what has been seen as a burdensome cost in the process.

"Carbon capture with carbonate fuel cells is a potential game-changer for affordably and efficiently concentrating carbon dioxide for large-scale gas and coal-fired power plants," said FuelCell Energy chief executive Chip Bottone in a statement.

FuelCell Energy is a specialist in fuel-cell technology, which converts waste gases into energy.

The company believes it has developed a solution to combining carbon capture and fuel-cell technology in a way that could pay for itself with power generation.

The power plant exhausts would be delivered to the fuel cell, which would use some of the exhaust for generating power while concentrating the carbon dioxide, making capture easier.

The process would also eliminate around 70 percent of smog-producing nitrogen oxides from power plants, according to Bottone.

The captured carbon dioxide is then stored underground.

The two companies said the initial target of the venture is to prove initial estimates that the technology could save one-third of the costs from conventional carbon-separation technology.

"We are continually researching technologies that have an ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Vijay Swarup, vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company.

"Most solutions that can make an impact of the scale that is required are not found overnight. Our research with FuelCell Energy will be conducted methodically to ensure that all paths toward viability are explored."