Clean coal power - how does that work?

Looking for intelligent membranes for effective CO2 capture

The coal gasification power station in Puertollano, Spain, at sunrise. RUB
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Everyone is hoping for the expansion of renewable energies, many are waiting for the disappearance of nuclear power. Coal-fired power plants are considered to be greenhouse gas hurdles and fossils of power generation, but at least until 2030, according to forecasts, fossil-fuel power plants will continue to produce. Until then they want to continue to cover more than two-thirds of the world's electricity needs. Nevertheless, if climate protection is to be successful, it is important to minimize the greenhouse gas emissions of coal-fired power plants as much as possible. But how?

One of the options discussed is CO2 capture - the separation of the greenhouse gas from the exhaust air stream of the power plants and its separate storage or recovery. However, CO2 capture in coal-fired power plants is still not in use worldwide. Among other things, because their integration into the power plant process results in enormous energy losses.

We are therefore looking for technical solutions that enable separation and thus reduction of CO2 emissions without significantly reducing the efficiency of the power plants. Engineers at the Ruhr University Bochum rely on processes with the help of membrane separation. New selective gas separation membranes will help to find the "biggest common denominator" between loss of efficiency and CO2 capture.

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Viktor Scherer, Johannes Franz / from RUBIN (Ruhr-University Bochum)
As of: 14.05.2010