FuelCell Energy develops carbon capture process using fuel cells

December 18, 2014 0 By Tami Hood

Company has devised a new process to mitigate emissions with the help of fuel cells

FuelCell Energy, a leading developer of hydrogen fuel cells, may have found a way to make it easier for power plants in the United States to comply with potential regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. The company has developed a process that is meant to capture carbon dioxide produced by a power plant, using fuel cell technology as the means to accomplish this task. The process was created with the aid of a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy.

Fuel cell will be able to capture carbon dioxide and produce some electrical power at the same time

According to FuelCell Energy’s design, coal power plants would install a fuel cell unit near their smokestacks. The fuel cell would capture carbon dioxide from the smokestack while also generating electrical power. One of FuelCell Energy’s demonstration units is capable of capturing carbon dioxide and generate eight kilowatts of electricity, which is roughly enough to power a mid-sized commercial air conditioner. In full carbon capture mode, the fuel cell is able to produce only six kilowatts of electricity.

Carbon capture is becoming more important

fuel cells - carbon footprintCarbon capture is becoming more popular in the energy and environmentalism fields. New emissions regulations in the United States have begun pressuring energy companies to reduce their production of carbon dioxide. The demand for electricity is not falling, however, which has created a need for new technologies that are designed to capture carbon dioxide and store emissions for future use or disposal.

Fuel cells are also capable of breaking down nitrogen oxide

The process designed by FuelCell Energy also has an unexpected quality. It is capable of breaking down nitrogen oxide emissions with relative ease. Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant that has been heavily regulated due to the damage it can cause to the ozone layer. FuelCell Energy plans to build a large-scale demonstration facility in which it can show off its new carbon capture process and the fuel cells that will be used for this process in the future.

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