New Technology to Help Combat Climate Change

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In a development that could help combat climate change significantly, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Guwahati, in partnership with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited, has designed and developed a technology that promises to help capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The technology has been found to consume about 11 per cent less energy compared to existing commercial methods.

The new development assumes importance since, even while growth in the electricity sector is a prerequisite to achieving India’s goal of ‘Electricity for All’ and maintaining significant growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), there is a need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The new technology is expected to help achieve both the goals simultaneously and effectively.

Prof. Bishnupada Mandal of the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, who led the research team, noted that several proprietary solvent-based technologies are available for CO2 capture in the chemical industry and utilized in coal and gas-fired power plants mainly to produce food-grade CO2 in small quantities. The processes involved are energy-intensive if adopted for large-scale CO2 capture in power plants. The new technology will help.

The project, he added, will benefit oil, natural gas, biogas industries, and petroleum refineries. It could help save a lot of foreign exchange for the nation.

After successfully completing test studies, the pilot plant has been shifted to NTPC’s NETRA (NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance) facility. IIT-Guwahati and NTPC Limited are in the process of patenting the technology. The next phase of the study will involve testing pilot-pant using industrial flue gas.