The technology, known as carbon capture and storage, could be a compelling alternative because of the sheer number and size of power plants that burn fossil fuels. But the high cost of removing the carbon dioxide from those plants create makes the process a hard sell.
That prompted researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to try to develop a lower-cost way to do the job. Last year, they got about $80,000 in funding to make a small-scale commercial prototype.
The MIT project seeks to lower the energy needed to remove carbon dioxide by using an electrochemical device that’s similar in concept to a rechargeable battery. The technique promises to be less expensive and easier to add to existing power plants than current systems.
The new system could cut energy requirements by as much as 25 percent, according to very rough estimates made in the lab. But researchers need to get closer to building a commercial system to get a firm idea of the capital costs.
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