Essential "Clean Coal" Tech Earns Federal Research Funds For UK

Sep 30, 2013

Credit Kentucky Utilities

Funds from the US Department of Energy will help researchers at the University of Kentucky.  They hope to develop technologies that can further reduce the emission of green house gases from coal-fired power plants. 

The $3-million project focuses on the capture of carbon dioxide.  The scrubbers currently needed are costly because they must process the large volumes of gas sent up a power plant’s smoke stack.  However, UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research has developed a quicker method for absorbing carbon dioxide, allowing for a smaller scrubber.  Center Director Rodney Andrews says the aim is to use this technology here in the Commonwealth.

“That’s the intent.  Where that will be determined is what is the final cost of the electricity, once you add these technologies.  These technologies can make coal fired power plants low carbon emitters.”

Within the next year or so, Andrews says a pilot project could be established that tests several proto-types at the Harrodsburg Brown Power Plant.  Andrews adds they also need to improve the efficiency of such plants.

“You produce more power, usable energy per ton of Co2 you emit.  So, efficiency at our power plants is a very easy way to decrease our carbon emissions,” added Andrews.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto participated in today’s announcement.

“We support research and discovery.  We improve the effectiveness of carbon capture technology and at the same time, we can reduce the cost for industry implementation and do so in an environmentally friendly way,” said Capilouto.

The center’s research falls in line with a US Department of Energy goal.  It hopes to have effective and affordable carbon capture technology available by the year 2020.