Utilisation of natural gas without emission of CO2 is an important field for IFE. In collaboration with Christian Michelsen Research AS and its subsidiary, Prototech AS, a new gas power concept is under development. Here natural gas is source of energy in the production of electricity and hydrogen with a simultaneous separation of CO2. In this process the electricity is produced in a high temperature fuel cell (SOFC) run on H2 produced from natural gas in a reforming reaction where CO2 is sorbed as a solid (carbonate). Thus separation of CO2 is an integrated part of the process. The exhaust energy from the SOFC is used for regeneration of the sorbent, releasing CO2 as a pure gas in a separate step. This gas can be utilised in the industry, transport sector or disposed of. Read more about the technology and a demo-project here (pdf). The concept has theoretically a great potential with an electrical efficiency of 80% and an overall effieciency of 90% assuming the excess hydrogen will be used for energy purposes.
IFE recognises CO2 as a valuable chemical in different industrial processes, which may simultaneously bind the gas as a stable mineral phase (as carbonates). Such processes occur in nature, but the challenge is to increase kinetics and yields, i.e. make them industrially suitable. A possible profit by using CO2 in leaching of minerals and other industrial processes is related to new products, reduced amounts of waste (slag) in addition to cost for CO2 disposal. Potential minerals for such processes are anorthosite, olivine and ilmenite.
Solar energy is very important for IFE and a new energy efficient production method for solar grade silicon is under development. Today’s industrial production is based on gaseous silicon compounds and utilises several energy demanding steps with manual handling between the steps. IFE has applied for at patent on a continuous process, which will reduce the energy demand and the required handling. The process is based on a swirl type reactor.