FuelCell Energy Offers Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell as One Solution to Carbon Capture

FuelCell Energy, Inc. is offering an alternative fuel cell with enhanced carbon capture abilities. Oil and chemical companies are starting to think about reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and their biggest issue is carbon capture. Heat driven reactions are the most common method of converting hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. However this method produces a diluted CO2 which is too difficult to capture. Currently, they pass the gaseous output through a solution which absorbs CO2, heating it and capturing this more concentrated CO2– at a cost of 17% of the power plant’s output.

The Connecticut-based energy company, FuelCell, has spent decades developing batteries and then fuel cells. Their molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC) power plants globally which provide on-site electricity, steam, or hot water. The MCFCs are able to easily capture their own CO2 output as the fuel never mixes directly with air – leaving a workably concentrated CO2 for capture.

Now, FuelCell Energy is trying to rework their MCFCs to capture other CO2 outputs. They believe they could outperform the traditional methods outlined above, increasing a plant’s efficiency and simplifying carbon capture while costing 60% less. They also want to take it one step further, and design a fuel cell capable of consuming hydrogen to produce electricity as well as a fuel cell that could do the reverse. These developments could advance power plants into a new green age.

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