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Category Archives: Renewable natural gas

What is CRT?

CRT is a process technology that captures CO2 from existing and operating base load (24 x 7) power plants using fossil fuels and substituting the Oxygen in CO2 with renewable Hydrogen thereby converting CO2 into RNG (renewable natural gas). Then RNG becomes the renewable fuel for the above power plant. It is a perfect example of a circular economy with Zero Carbon emissions.

CRT becomes a link between fossil power industry and renewable industry, and it can achieve zero Carbon emission in the shortest possible time frame averting a catastrophic climate change.

Why CRT?

The climate change is a global issue and it requires a global solution and eliminating CO2 emission by few countries will not address the problem and it will require a collective solution. CRT can provide such a solution.

The world is now divided than ever before into two segments. One segment believes Carbon emission is causing global warming and climate change and therefore CO2 should be curtailed or eliminated completely, and all future energy should come only from renewable energy sources such as solar wind etc to avert climate change.
The other segment believes the science of climate change is not well established and dismisses the theory that CO2 causes global warming and climate change. They believe such a change is a natural phenomenon and it has nothing to do with CO2 emissions.  They fear by simply eliminating fossil fuel usage in the absence of a clear substitute the energy industry will be seriously disrupted causing economic collapse and the security of a nation. For example US has become the largest exporter of oil and gas in the world due to their aggressive policy of exploiting oil and gas reserves using techniques such as fracking. However these resources are finite and their CO2 emissions will become a stumbling block in the near future.

It is a useless exercise to engage in argument without a clear path forward. But I am sure they will certainly agree and support a substitute fuel such as renewable natural gas (RNG) that can generate a base load power with zero carbon emission.

CRT will be able to convince both the above segment of people because it will meet the requirements of both the parties.

The bottom line is we need a system that can guarantee to generate an uninterrupted power 24 x7 with zero Carbon emission irrespective of a method we use if it is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

How do crew in space shuttle get rid of their CO2 emission from their cabin is shown below by NASA.

Carbon recycling technology is like the above process except CO2 is generated by combustion of natural gas as a by-product of base load power generation which is being removed and recycled in the form of RNG (renewable natural gas) using renewable

Hydrogen. Capture Carbon recycling in space

 

(Utility scale battery storage)

Advanced-Batteries-for-Utility-Scale-Energy-Storage-880x660Methan from CO2SNG plant(Methanation plant for CO2 to SNG)

Renewable energy is a low efficient and intermittent source of energy and it may not meet the world’s energy requirement at the current rate. It will require massive energy storage technologies to be deployed in the shortest possible time frame. According to NREL report a 100 Mw PV solar with 240 Mwh storage battery will cost approx. USD 188 mil. To meet a base load power of 2400 Mwh/day the cost of the system will be USD 1.88 billion. The life of storage battery is assumed only at 12 years and will require replacement at least twice in 24 years of its life cycle. The same capacity 100 Mw combined cycle power plant using natural gas will cost only USD 105 mil with a life of at least 25 years. Therefore, renewable energy alone cannot solve the problem of climate change in its current form. It will be prudent to use renewable energy to generate renewable Hydrogen (RH) from water (even seawater) and use it to decarbonize the fossil economy. In fact, this is the solution  world needs right now.

Large(utility) scale battery will require massive amount of exotic material such as Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt etc which are not renewable and will have a large carbon footprint and disposal of depleted batteries will create massive environmental problems in the future. They are simply not sustainable.

Combined cycle power generation using natural gas is a proven technology that has been used for decades and all the infrastructure required are already in place.

What is involved in CRT?

CRT will involve the following three sections:

  1. Renewable energy facility such as PV solar, Concentrated solar or wind, geothermal, OTEC and hydro etc.
  2. Renewable Hydrogen facility to generate and store Hydrogen using the above renewable energy sources.
  3. Combined cycle base load power plant with CO2 capture and storage using either pre or post combustion technologies.
  4. Conversion of captured CO2 into renewable natural gas RNG which can substitute natural gas in the above base load power plant with zero Carbon emission.

There are number of renewable energy industries established all over the world in the past decade and they are currently operational. The lowest power tariff quoted by renewable energy industry in India is as low as $ 0.035/kwh making it an attractive clean energy source. There are issues in exporting it to the grid due to peak hour supply and demand gap. This renewable energy can be used to generate renewable Hydrogen (RH) by electrolysis of water. Hydrogen can be used as a storage medium to generate power during peak hours using fuel cells. It can also be used to fuel Hydrogen (Fuel cell) cars. Hydrogen cars have many advantages over battery cars based on life cycle assessment. Renewable Hydrogen (RH) is going to help accelerating the decarbonization process of the world soon.

Currently bulk of the power is generated using fossil fuel such as coal, oil and gas. The CO2 emissions can be reduced by 25% by simply switching over from coal to gas. Exiting coal fired power plants can be modified to gas fired plants by replacing their existing boilers. By using RNG the power plant can achieve zero carbon emission while generating base load power.

CRT is a simple and straight forward process technology that can avert global warming and climate change without disrupting existing fossil fuel infrastructure and its power generation while achieving ZERO CARBON EMISSION in the shorted possible time frame. It will promote renewable energy industries in a big way and help decarbonize our economy on a global scale. The cost of renewable energy should further come down so that renewable hydrogen (RH) as well as renewable natural gas (RNG) will become cheaper. Removal of fossil subsidies, taxing carbon emission and subsidizing renewable energy can facilitate such a transition and quicken the process of decarbonization and avert the climate change. A detailed financial model will reveal how quickly and effectively CRT can help countries reduce their emissions.

High CO2 emitting countries such as China, US, India, Australia, Japan, EU and others should adopt this technology .This technology is compatible with transportation technologies such as electric vehicles and Hydrogen (Fuel cell) vehicles because it can generate base load power (24 x 7) with Zero Carbon emission which are essential for the success of the above transport applications. WithoutCRT the transport applications will collapse even if they are “the state of art” technologies. CRT will be an ideal technology for energy intensive industries such as Caustic soda, Aluminium, Steel as well as Carbon intensive industries such as cement.

 

 

 

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When mother nature buried Carbon under the ground by way of fossil, we human beings mined them at enormous cost and added further value by combustion with air converting it into CO2 (carbon dioxide). In fact, we human beings added enormous value to carbon that remained buried (with zero value) for millennia. We were interested in the heat of combustion but forgotten about the CO2 emission. This is the fundamental flaw in the commercialization of thermal power using fossil fuels. Now there is a price to pay. There are only 2 options to overcome this problem.

  • We can completely ignore and ban fossil fuel all together at enormous cost (we have already invested in trillions in mining, processing, transporting and storing) and seek completely a new solution without any Carbon at all. This is unlikely to happen.
  • We can continue to use fossil fuel and generate base load power as we have been doing for decades but capture CO2 and convert it back into fuel so that it can be recycled with Zero CO2 emission. This is certainly feasible.

Many “so called innovators” are suggesting alternatives to fossil power generation using renewable source of energy. These sources were available with us from the beginning of the world as we know it, but they are intermittent. We are used to 24 x7 base load power using fossil fuels.

The real solution lies in using intermittent renewable energy to generate base load power with zero Carbon emission. Renewable Hydrogen (RH) can achieve this goal. In doing so battery can also play a small role but not a major role. Couple of things should happen to achieve this goal.

  1. Capturing CO2 at the lowest cost. It can be best achieved using Oxy combustion of fossil fuel such as LNG (because it is a purified form of natural gas) using Brayton cycle with 100 % CO2 capture.
  2. Generate renewable Hydrogen (RH) using electrolysis using renewable energy source such as solar and wind etc. Technology is well proven and commercially available.
  3. Convert captured CO2 into CH4 using methanation reaction (which is already commercially practised) and recycling CH4 as a fuel to continue the base load power generation as usual. The newly generated CH4 becomes a renewable natural gas (RNG) substituting fossil Hydrogen with renewable Hydrogen(RH). The above described technology is known as Carbon Recycling Technology (CRT) dveloped by CEWT, Australia. The process uses LNG only for a start up and then continue to generate its own RNG to continue the power generation using RH.

The above process is the only economical, commercial and environmental solution to the problem of global warming and climate change. All other methods will be expensive, time consuming with no guaranteed results and are unlikely to happen in the shortest time we have. By scraping fossil subsidies and taxing Carbon @ $100/Mt of CO2 (at least) and offering liberal subsidies to renewable energy the cost of renewable Hydrogen (RH) will be reduced. The cost of renewables is coming down and it can generate RH to the lowest so that CRT can be deployed everywhere. This technology will help achive Zero carbon emission while  a base load (24 x7) power is generated while keeping the Carbon below the earth as nature has done for a long time.

We at CEWT (Clean Energy and Water Technologies, Australia) sco2-power-cycleCO2 cloudcoal power plantoxy-fuel-directly-heated-sco2-power-cycle-flow-diagram-1have the solution (not just theoretical but practically and commercially implementable immediately) and we seek like-minded partners and investors to team up with us so that we can show case the technology and implement them worldwide. ( https://www.clean-energy-water-tech.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carbon footprint of capital per person as a function of GDP per capitaCarbon emission caused by human beings has become a major issue for our environment and future economy due to changing climate. But there are still few countries who are skeptical about the science of climate change and reluctant to act and refuse to be a part of United Nation’s action on climate change. These countries are either fossil fuel producers such as coal, oil and gas or large economies who have been traditionally depending on usage of fossil fuel for their economy and security. The transition from Carbon economy to non-Carbon economy may not be easier for them is the absence of an alternative technology that can guarantee not only complete elimination of CO2 emission but also efficiency and sustainability. There is a strong political motivation too behind such dithering and they create a fear of slowing economy and large-scale unemployment among the people in the absence of a viable alternative energy source. Therefore, United Nation has an important role to play at this critical juncture of transition to non-carbon economy and save the planet earth from imminent danger of environmental and economic collapse. UN can also stop mass extinction of species and migration of refugees for a better life.

UN was successfully able to bring together 174 countries to the negotiating table during Paris climate change conference. However, they failed to reach a unanimous Agreement and announce a concrete action plan to act. They failed to articulate the ways and means of reducing or eliminating man made CO2 emissions in a stipulated time frame. They also failed to bring powerful nations such as USA to the table which made the task even harder. But this situation can be changed if UN is able to articulate a concrete Action plan which is agreeable to all the parties involved. This is possible only if UN can address all the issues involved such as the alternative technology, funding, implementing in a stipulated time frame, measuring and monitoring the progress and achieving the final goal. UN should first be able to create the same level playing field where all Countries can take part equally without any discrimination. It depends completely on focusing the type of technologies to be deployed to achieve the above goals and It should be able set a specific date to implement such a plan. Currently renewable energy is considered as one of the alternatives along with renewable Hydrogen which can act both as an energy storage and as well as energy carrier. But renewable Energy is intermittent and energy storage has become part of the system. With our limited experience in renewable energy deployment over a decade renewable energy alone Cannot be the solution to address the issue of CO2 emissions. One must estimate the life cycle CO2 emissions of hardware used in renewable energy systems such as PV solar panels, Solar concentrators, wind turbines, storage batteries. Renewable Hydrogen generators, Fuel cells etc. Each of them has their own Carbon footprint that must be incorporated in life cycle assessment.

Similarly, even fossil fuel-based power generators such as boilers, steam or gas turbines, pumps and compressors etc too have Carbon footprint that should be assessed. Carbon footprint should be assessed as fixed carbon footprint and variable carbon footprint and then these data should be used to arrive at the Carbon footprint to generate power (tons of CO2/Mwh) Once a life cycle assessment of their Carbon footprint is estimated then it will be easier to rate each technology based on their “Carbon Rating” which will be a measure of their Carbon footprint. The Carbon rating is measured and allocated “number of stars” based on Carbon footprints. Lowest emitting technology will be rated with highest number of stars while highest emitting technologies will get the lowest number of stars.

Carbon rating will be a good measure to assess the technology that can be used worldwide. Countries who are reluctant to reduce CO2 emissions will be discouraged to participate in government and private tenders worldwide and exports. Such countries will be treated as “Pariahs” and rejected by consumers due to their low Carbon rating. Technologically advanced countries or companies who can use fossil fuel but with lowest or Zero CO2 emissions will also be able to compete with renewable energy technologies. Carbon Rating will offer everybody the same level playing field. Carbon is the fundamental building block of organic life on earth which is essential for human survival but unabated CO2 emission by human activities is the culprit. I strongly believe Zero Carbon emission can be achieved even while using fossil fuels by constantly recycling CO2 in the form of regenerated synthetic natural gas. It will not only eliminate CO2 emission but also generate synthetic fuel using renewable Hydrogen without any necessity to exploit fresh fossil fuels. Using renewable Hydrogen as a storage medium or as energy carrier may be expensive due to inherent nature of Hydrogen atom. UN can introduce Carbon Rating as a single tool to measure the Carbon footprint of a specific technology with the lowest or Zero CO2 emission worldwide to start with. They should be more proactive in promoting technologies with highest Carbon rating and encourage countries to adopt such measures.

 

Generating electricity using fossil fuel is a well-established technology, that has been practiced over several decades all over the world, despite its low efficiency. But this technology inherited certain disadvantages even before it was commercialized such as post combustion emissions, large amount of waste heat, and water intensity. Millions of people died of Carbon pollution over decades. Large scale usage of water both inland and on shore power stations created shortage of drinking water in many parts of the world resulting in desalination technologies creating its own environmental issues. Large scale mining of coal and unsustainable exploitation of oil and gas both on shore and off shore caused enormous environmental pollution. However, such emissions were completely ignored while the world celebrated the discovery of electro-magnetism, steam engine and petrochemicals. Millions of people were employed, and industries grew worldwide. Energy became synonymous with security of a nation. Population grew exponentially. However, we have reached a point in the history of mankind and all great discoveries once acclaimed as human achievements have started a new painful chapter of warming globe and changing climate for new generations to deal with. It is a great challenge of our time, but new generation can take this challenge and convert them into opportunities. The past lessons can show them a new clean and sustainable pathway while dealing with ever increasing population growth.

The challenge for the new generation is to curtail and eliminate Carbon pollution completely while meeting the energy demand in a time bound manner because we are running out of time. Currently renewable energy generation is too low to meet these challenges within the time frame to avert disastrous consequences scientists predict. Renewable Hydrogen is a potential substitute for fossil fuel to eliminate Carbon pollution but that will not solve our current problem soon because renewable energy generation is too small and too slow while our energy demand is huge. Battery technology is only a storage technology and without a base load power generation all other forms of technologies will not meet our current challenges. I am not discounting the potential of renewable energy and its critical role in the future energy mix but that alone will not solve the current crisis. Hydrogen is a weak and unstable atom and it requires a backbone such as Carbon. That is why Hydrogen do not exist in a free state in Nature, but it exists in the form of water or natural gas. Therefore, it is only logical to convert renewable hydrogen into renewable natural gas so that it can be used as a fuel as we have been using for decades. It does not require to create a special type of infrastructure such as required for Hydrogen or any storage technologies.

Our focus should be to achieve Zero Carbon emission in the shortest time scale possible while generating a base load power of 24 x7 using a renewable energy source. It looks like a daunting task but, it is not too big a challenge to overcome. In fact, the technologies are already available, and we are almost there to achieve the above, but governments should understand the challenge and its gravity and extend all the support it requires. Government around the world should implement the following with great urgency to achieve the above objectives.

1.Tax Carbon with immediate effect and minimum tax should be $500/ Mt of CO2 emitted. It should be centrally monitored by government agencies with appropriate technology implementations.

  1. Encourage Oxy combustion technologies for coal, oil and gas-based power plants with incentives to eliminate emissions pollution and reduce the cost of Carbon capture.
  2. Encourage large scale deployment of super critical Carbon dioxide power generation technologies with liberal grants and low interest loans for research and development of super critical CO2 technologies using Brayton cycle using fossil fuels with Zero Carbon emission.

4.Encourage large scale deployment of SNG plants using CO2 and renewable Hydrogen.

By using the above steps all fossil fuel-based power plants existing and operating can be converted and continue to generate base load power 24 x7 with Zero Carbon Emission within a time frame. Simultaneously it will generate large scale renewable hydrogen and renewable synthetic natural gas which can generate base load power with Zero Carbon emission. Such Zero emission power plants can then power all electric and fuel cell cars and eliminate Carbon pollution completely from our roads. The above implementation will create millions of jobs worldwide!

The greatest advantage of these technologies is to recycle Carbon indefinitely while generating power using renewable natural gas with Zero Carbon emission and fresh fossil fuel usage will be gradually eliminated from our planet earth.

 

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