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Plasma Catalyst Coupling for Improved Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019814
Agency Tracking Number: 245753
Amount: $206,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 20d
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001941
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-03-31
Small Business Information
421 Wakara Way, Suite 210
Salt Lake City, UT 84108-3549
United States
DUNS: 828133939
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jim Steppan
 (801) 750-4928
Business Contact
 Balakrishnan Nair
Phone: (801) 897-1221
Research Institution

The current cost of implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is well above practical levels, more than tripling the cost of power generation, without carbon credit offsets. Therefore, for US coal plants to be able to implement CCS without significant negative economic impact, there is a critical need for new CCS technologies that can change this economic picture dramatically. One way to take advantage of this economic opportunity is to utilize the effluent CO2 from power plants to produce value-added chemicals, fuels, and polymers that can generate revenue for the plant, thereby changing the CCS implementation from being an undesirable cost, to a value-creating revenue stream for the plant. The HiFunda/PPPL team is proposing to develop and demonstrate a combined low-temperature plasma-UV-catalytic process for converting CO2 to higher-value chemicals, namely methanol. By producing methanol, a value-added fuel, from the CO2 waste stream, the new process will add net economic value to fossil-based power plant operations, and therefore reduce the cost impact of CO2 capture. The HiFunda/PPPL team will develop a combined plasma-UV-catalytic process, carefully designed and optimized using advanced in situ characterization tools available at PPPL. Combined plasma/UV systems have been shown to enhance conversion efficiency and reduce energy usage in a number of other applications. Our proposed Phase 1 technical approach will leverage in situ characterization techniques to better understand the plasma, UV-photocatalyst and plasma-catalyst interactions, and the synergies between the plasma catalytic process and the photocatalytic process for the CO2/H2O reaction to produce methanol directly from combustion exhaust streams.The proposed approach will have a significant positive effect on power generation, carbon capture, and chemical production in the US and worldwide. With over 5 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions in the United States in 2017, utilization and conversion of CO2 can make coal plants implement CCS in an economically viable way. The use of CO2 to produce products may require less energy, less reagents, and generate less waste than production from petroleum or natural gas feedstocks, which can significantly lower life-cycle carbon footprints.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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