Ceramic membrane could cut greenhouse gas emissions from power stations. ‘Greenhouse gas emissions from power stations could be cut to almost zero by controlling the combustion process with tiny tubes made from an advanced ceramic material, claims a research team led by Newcastle University today.
The material, known as LSCF, has the remarkable property of being able to filter oxygen out of the air. By burning fuel in pure oxygen, it is possible to produce a stream of almost pure carbon dioxide, which has commercial potential for reprocessing into useful chemicals.
LSCF is not a brand new material – it was originally developed for fuel cell technology – but engineers at Newcastle University in collaboration with Imperial College London, have developed it for potential use in reducing emissions for gas-fired power stations and possibly coal and oil-fired electricity generation as well.
Conventional gas-fired power stations burn methane in a stream of air, producing a mixture of nitrogen and greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are emitted into the atmosphere. Separating the gases is not practical because of the high cost and large amount of energy needed to do so.
However, the LSCF tubes would allow only the oxygen component of air to reach the methane gas, resulting in the production of almost pure carbon dioxide and steam, which can easily be separated by condensing out the steam as water.
The resulting stream of carbon dioxide could be piped to a processing plant for conversion into chemicals such as methanol, a useful industrial fuel and solvent.’