Wednesday, February 20, 2013
After more than 10 years of research, scientists of the Ohio State Universty have found a way to get energy from coal without burning it, avoiding and removing 99% of the pollution from this mineral through a process called coal-direct chemical looping. Conventional combustion is a violent and fast oxidation process which takes up oxygen and generates heat; this happens when carbon containing materials burn. In order to heat coal without burning it, iron-oxide pellets are used as oxygen and the reaction is contained in a heated air-tight chamber, from which pullutants are not let out, with the byproduct being not pollution in the atmosphere but water and coal ash. The project was funded by the federal government wit a cost of 5 million dollars. A Federal Department of Energy official thinks that the process can produce 20 to 50 megawatts by 2020.