Carbon dioxide goes into more products than we think. Sodas contain the pressurized gas, quick inflatable life jackets on planes contain CO2, it is used as a pesticide, dry cleaners use CO2 as an alternative to more toxic chemicals, CO2 is commonly used in the oil industry to force the oil to the surface and it is emitted by power plants. Unfortunately, carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, may have adverse effects on the environment while its absorption by the ocean has already changed oceanic environments.
With these concerns in mind, a group of retired Aerospace engineers formed Clean Energy Systems in Rancho Cordova, CA, with the goal of creating power without the release of adverse chemicals into the environment. Having worked at Aerojet Corporation, it is no surprise that these engineers integrate rocket engine technology into the design of the systems. CES has achieved the goal of converting coal to energy with almost full C02 capture.
In 1999 the group received a small grant to construct a small scale oxy-combustor able to produce 110 kWth. Since then, numerous designs have been implemented and more recently, CES has developed a 170MW gas generated system. CES explains that this system “will produce the drive gas for a nominal 50 MWe Zero-Emission Power Plant (ZEPP). Such a power plant will provide the electricity needs for approximately 50,000 homes using fossil fuels (natural gas or syngas derived from coal) and will emit no pollutants or the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, (CO2), to the atmosphere. With expected improvements in turbine performance, this same sized unit will produce up to 90 MWe.” This model will be tested in Bakersfield, CA during 2008.
The potential uses of oxy-fuel combustors are outlined on the CES site:
• Combustion technology that can use multiple opportunity fuels
• Zero-Emission Power Plants with full CO2 recovery
• Efficient, cost-effective technology for enhanced oil and gas recovery (EOR and EGR) and enhanced coal-bed methane (ECBM) recovery processes
• Peaking power plant technology that addresses reliability-must-run (RMR) requirements
• Capability to produce power and hydrogen for the “hydrogen economy”
• Improved efficiencies with advanced turbine designs
CES’s technology can be used in a variety of industries including power plants, grid reliability, desalination and coal or syngas power plants, just to mention a few. With potential to provide their oxy-fuel combustor to the very first zero emission power plant in the world CES is part of history in the making.