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SwRI receives DOE funding to improve CO2 compression technologies

San Antonio -- December 30, 2005 -- Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) has received a one-year, $175,000 contract from the U.S. Department of Energy for Phase I of a project to improve the mechanics associated with compressing and liquefying carbon dioxide produced by integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants. The project is under the aegis of DOE's Office of Fossil Energy Turbine Technology R&D Program. Dresser Rand, a manufacturer of centrifugal compressors, is providing additional co-funding to support the project.

All power plants that burn fossil fuels produce carbon dioxide (CO2). However, because of the process used by IGCC power plants to produce energy, these plants offer the unique opportunity for carbon dioxide to be removed from the fuel stream rather than from the exhaust emissions thereby reducing the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Sequestration — taking the carbon dioxide and injecting it into the ground for permanent storage — requires significant compression power to boost the pressure to typical pipeline levels. The cost penalty for this increased power can be high — as much as an 8 to 12 percent reduction in overall efficiency. One way to reduce this penalty is to develop novel compression concepts that can be integrated with existing IGCC processes.

"The primary objective of this project is to boost the pressure of CO2 to pipeline pressures using as little energy as possible," said Project Manager Dr. J. Jeffrey Moore, a principal engineer in the Mechanical and Fluids Engineering Department of SwRI's Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division. "Phase I of the project began in October 2005. During this phase we hope to identify a number of promising concepts."

Completion of the subsequent phases will lead to a full-scale compression train that will be fitted, designed and tested at an existing IGCC plant.

For more information about turbomachinery research and development at SwRI, go to or or contact Moore at (210) 522-5812 or

For more information, contact Deborah S. Deffenbaugh, Communications Department, (210) 522-2046, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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