(157b) Possible Use for CO2 Captured from Coal Derived Flue Gas: Reforming of Methane in Electric Discharge Plasma

Rupp, E. C., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Granite, E. J., National Energy Technology Laboratory

Coal-derived energy is perhaps the most important, and accessible, source of energy in the world. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the US consumed over 1 billion metric tons of coal in 2006, with the entire world consuming over 6.5 billion metric tons. During this same year, the world consumed 3 trillion m3 of natural gas, with the US contributing 600 billion m3 to this total. This resulted in the emission in the US of 2 billion metric tons of CO2 from coal and 1 billion metric tons of CO2 from natural gas, or just over half the total CO2 emissions from all sources in the United States during 2006. As the worlds understanding of anthropogenic climate change increases, it becomes clear that CO2 emissions must be abated, with CO2 formed from stationary sources such as power plants the easiest to access.

The current direction for the use of CO2 involves sequestration in geological formations after capture from flue gas. The US Department of Energy's Fossil Fuel Program's carbon sequestration core and the FutureGen Initiative are major spearheads for this technology. Other proposals for the use of the captured CO2 involve advanced catalysts, engineered photosynthesis systems, biomimetic systems and biological systems. The use of CO2, natural gas and electrical plasma discharges could provide another option for the use of captured CO2, through the production of syngas, which is a useful product for either energy generation or in the Fischer-Tropsch process to produce synthetic liquid hydrocarbons.


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