FuelCell Energy and ExxonMobil announced that they will test novel fuel cell carbon capture technology under development by the companies at the James M. Barry Electric Generating Station, Bucks, Alabama, USA. The station is a 2.7 gigawatt mixed-use coal and gas-fired power plant operated by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power. The station will host pilot plant tests of the technology, which uses carbonate fuel cells to concentrate and capture carbon dioxide streams from power plants. Carbonate fuel cells generate electricity and hydrogen while capturing and concentrating carbon dioxide streams, which will reduce the cost of carbon capture.
The tests will demonstrate carbon capture from natural gas-fired power generation under an agreement between FuelCell Energy and ExxonMobil announced in May, and from coal-fired power generation under a previously announced agreement between FuelCell Energy and the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
The pilot plant tests will use FuelCell Energy’s commercial DFC3000® carbonate fuel cell power system to concentrate and capture a portion of the carbon dioxide emissions from the power plant as part of the fuel cells’ power generation process. Flue gas from power generation will be directed into the fuel cells’ air intake system where it is combined with natural gas. The fuel cells concentrate and capture carbon dioxide and also eliminate about 70 % of smog-producing nitrogen oxide from coal, supporting federal and local clean air initiatives. Following capture, carbon dioxide will be compressed and cooled utilizing standard chilling equipment.
Results from the natural gas pilot test will help guide engineering studies for potential construction of a standalone pilot plant to test the technology at a larger scale, under FuelCell Energy’s existing agreement with ExxonMobil.