ExxonMobil enhances CO2 capturing technology with FuelCell

ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy have signed a two-year joint-development agreement to further enhance carbon dioxide (CO2) capturing technology.

The agreement, which is worth up to $60 million, will focus on optimising carbonate fuel cell technology for capturing CO2 from industrial facilities.

ExxonMobil is exploring options to pilot test a next-generation fuel cell carbon capture solution at one of its operating sites, as the two companies focus their efforts on the core technology, overall process integration and large-scale deployment of carbon capturing solutions.

The company has a working interest in approximately one-fifth of the world’s total carbon capture capacity, capturing about seven million tonnes per year of CO2, more than any other company.

FuelCell’s technology uses carbonate fuel cells to capture and concentrate CO2 streams from industrial sources, by directing combustion exhaust to the fuel cell, producing power while capturing and concentrating CO2 for permanent storage.

ExxonMobil vice president of research and development Vijay Swarup said the company was working to advance the technologies while reducing costs and enhancing scalability.

“This expanded agreement with FuelCell Energy will enable further progress on this unique carbon capture solution that has the potential to achieve meaningful reductions of CO2 emissions from industrial operations,” Swarup said.

FuelCell president and chief executive officer Jason Few said the company was looking forward to continuing its work with ExxonMobil to tackle one of the biggest issues facing the industry today.

“We have a great opportunity to scale and commercialise our unique carbon capture solution, one that captures about 90 per cent of carbon dioxide from various exhaust steams, while generating additional power, unlike traditional carbon capture technologies which consume significant power,” Few said.

The two companies started working together in 2016 by exploring ways to better understand the science behind carbonate fuel cells and how to increase efficiency in separating and concentrating CO2 from natural gas fuelled exhaust.

Under the new agreement, they will prioritise improving the core carbon technology for integration into large-scale industrial facilities like refineries and chemical plants.

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