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ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy, Inc. Pursue Novel Technology in Carbon Capture

  • Advancing a novel application of carbonate fuel cells for power plant carbon dioxide capture
  • Substantial cost savings relative to commercial technology through unique process that generates power while capturing carbon

FuelCell Energy, Inc. FCEL, -1.76% a global leader in the design, manufacture, operation and service of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants, today announced with Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM, +1.14% an agreement to pursue novel technology in power plant carbon dioxide capture through a new application of carbonate fuel cells, which could substantially reduce costs and lead to a more economical pathway toward large-scale application globally.

"Advancing economic and sustainable technologies to capture carbon dioxide from large emitters such as power plants is an important part of ExxonMobil's suite of research into lower-emissions solutions to mitigate the risk of climate change," said Vijay Swarup, vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company. "Our scientists saw the potential for this exciting technology for use at natural gas power plants to enhance the viability of carbon capture and sequestration while at the same time generating additional electricity. We sought the industry leaders in carbonate fuel-cell technology to test its application in pilot stages to help confirm what our researchers saw in the lab over the last two years."

Chip Bottone, president and chief executive officer of FuelCell Energy, Inc., said his company is pleased to bring its global leadership in the development of carbonate fuel cells to this project.

"Carbon capture with carbonate fuel cells is a potential game-changer for affordably and efficiently concentrating carbon dioxide for large-scale gas and coal-fired power plants," Bottone said. "Ultra-clean and efficient power generation is a key attribute of fuel cells and the carbon capture configuration has the added benefit of eliminating approximately 70 percent of the smog-producing nitrogen oxide generated by the combustion process of these large-scale power plants."

Two years of comprehensive laboratory tests have demonstrated that the unique integration of two existing technologies - carbonate fuel cells and natural gas-fired power generation - captures carbon dioxide more efficiently than existing scrubber conventional capture technology. The potential breakthrough comes from an increase in electrical output using the fuel cells, which generate power, compared to a nearly equivalent decrease in electricity using conventional technology.

The resulting net benefit has the potential...


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