Pre-Combustion Capture                                                                                     Built as part of US Synfuels program; now fully paid off

Carbon capture from gasification is an available technology which has been used commercially for decades.


The capture of CO2 is a chemical processing step used in the production of ammonia, methanol, substitute natural gas, and diesel fuel from coal in hundreds of plants worldwide.


One of the best known gasification-based CCS examples is the Dakota Gasification plant in Beulah, North Dakota (see image right).


The plant converts 18,500 tons per day of lignite to substitute natural gas (SNG). Over 3 million tons of CO2 per year is captured and transported by pipeline to Weyburn for EOR. The CO2 volume stored underground is equivalent to the amount emitted by a 460 MW supercritical coal plant.




The Capture Process

Gasification starts by turning  coal, refinery wastes, or other materials into syngas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The CO₂ capture step from gasification begins with a water shift reaction (a chemical reaction whereby carbon monoxide and water react to form CO₂ and H2).  The shift reaction creates more H2 and CO2 in the syngas.  The CO₂ is removed using any number of commercial processes. Overall, plants can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by about 90%.


Diagram of how gasification works


Electricity from Gasification

There are two options for producing electricity using gasification:

  • IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) intergrates a gasification island with a power block. and plants that plants that make natural gas from coal and then burn it in a natural gas power plant. When carbon dioxide is captured in an IGCC plant, the step is called "pre-combustion" capture because the CO2 is removed before the syngas is burned to produce power.
  • SNG/NGCC- Some proposed plants build on the Beulah North Dakota model.They capture CO2 from a plant that turns coal into methane (also known as a SNG), and use the SNG as fuel in a natural gas power plant.




CATF is working to

  • Establish carbon capture and storage as a major global industry.
  • Create a new generation of technologies and institutions capable of removing carbon dioxide that has already been released to the atmosphere.
  • Work directly with industry on getting more federal and state money to support these projects. 
  • Communicate with national and international news outlets, seeking to be seen as an honest arbitrator in coal and climate factual disagreements