IBM is developing CO2 capture technology to capture methane and carbon dioxide from fuel production processes and convert it into electricity and other energy-generating materials, the company announced Thursday.
The company, in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Argon Energy, will work with companies such as Argonne’s BioFuel Manufacturing Technologies to produce biofuel-grade materials and to develop technologies to produce them.
Biofuel-derived materials can be used in electric cars, solar cells and wind turbines.
The technology could have applications for renewable energy systems, biofuel production, and biofuelling.
The announcement comes amid increased interest in using carbon-capture technologies in energy production.
Carbon capture is a process used to remove carbon dioxide and other organic compounds from the atmosphere and use them to produce fuels.
Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and can cause extreme weather events such as hurricanes and typhoons.
IBM and other companies have focused on using CO2 to create electricity.
A recent report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, however, found that the use of carbon capture technology could potentially produce electricity in a “limited, inefficient and high-carbon scenario.”
Argonne said in a statement that the BioFuel Technology Development Center and Argon National Laboratory have formed a joint venture to commercialize the technology.
“This research will allow us to develop a scalable and efficient process to capture and store carbon dioxide, and ultimately produce electricity from biofuelles,” Argonne Vice President of Engineering Dr. David R. Condon said.
“Our goal is to leverage the existing biofuel production process and design new and novel methods to make biofuells.”
IBM’s Biofuel Manufacturing Technologies is working on carbon capture and sequestration technologies that could be used to produce fuel, but the company has not yet developed a commercial product.
The BioFuel Research Center at Argonne also will develop new techniques to capture CO2 from methane gas and convert the methane into electricity.
The lab is the lead facility in the National Carbon Capture Facility (NCFC), which is designed to capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The facility is being built by a consortium of government, industry, academia and private companies, which includes Argonne, Argonne Lab and the University of Colorado.
The center will have the capability to convert methane to power and produce hydrogen and electricity, the statement said.
IBM’s CO2 Capture Technology Development Program also includes Argonn Energy’s CO₂ Energy Solutions and BioFuel Technologies.
IBM is also partnering with companies that make biofuel technology, such as Biofuel Technologies, to develop advanced products that could eventually be sold to power companies.
The companies, as well as IBM and its employees, will be responsible for developing and delivering the products, which will help to improve the efficiency of biofuel processes.