Thursday, November 8, 2012

GE Announces Carbon Capture Breakthrough & Claims No Subsidies Needed: Real Or Too Good To Be True?

Among the world's greatest technology needs are real breakthroughs in carbon capture technology.  Nothing drives home this point more than the fact that coal energy's share of total global energy continues to rise and reached in 2011 its highest levels in more than 40 years.  The result is that global carbon emissions, driven by enormous Chinese increases, hit record levels in 2011.

Increasing carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, rising, warming oceans, and then Sandy may mark a tipping point in US public opinion about climate change and also a shift in the market for carbon capture technology that had thought to be nearly dead. Timing of products and services is often the key to commercial success, and so GE's advances in carbon capture are especially noteworthy.

GE announced this summer a major alliance with Sargas to deploy carbon capture storage technology at a new natural gas fired power plant.  The carbon dioxide captured will be used in enhanced oil recovery activity.

GE claims that its Sargas carbon capture technology reaches new levels of efficiency, cuts significantly the parasitic load loss from running the carbon capture equipment, and is commercially viable without any subsidies. No subsidies needed is the claim, a big one indeed.

GE asserts that its technology will capture carbon dioxide at a cost less than the market price of carbon dioxide used in oil production. If GE can stand behind that claim, its technology could signal that the cost of not only capturing, but also transporting and then storing carbon could be driven down considerably.

The GE-Sargas project is especially hopeful, because it is a commercial project and not simply an announcement about a laboratory or research advance.  The energy world desperately needs commercial breakthroughs that can make carbon capture technology economically viable.  Perhaps, GE has brought to market just that! This technology warrants close watching.


  1. Concerned ScientistNovember 8, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Fantastic news if true. CCS is essential if we ever want to get serious with global warming. Not all CO2 can be used for enhanced oil recovery and geological sequestration of CO2 underground is going to have to be part of the solution as well.

  2. Here is a recent, similar story.
    Molecular ‘trap door’ may reduce costs of carbon capture 11.08.12 U Melbourne, chabazite mineral, a single stage molecular sieve

    Chabazite, a form of zeolite is already used for molecular sieving

  3. Here is a 2008 paper on their process, applied to coal in a fluidized bed reactor. The chemical technology is older than that. It should be simpler to apply to gas turbine exhaust.

    Assessment of a fully integrated SARGAS process operating on coal with near zero emissions