DOE awards grant to Constellation to study direct air capture technology

April 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has awarded a grant worth $2.5 million to Constellation and its project partners to investigate the potential benefits of direct air capture (DAC) technology at its Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois. DAC would remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, a possible next-generation technology to help combat climate change.

Constellation’s partners in its endeavor to explore the viability of DAC are 1PointFive, the Worley Group, Carbon Engineering, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Project details: The DAC project at Byron has the potential to capture 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. The project will involve using Carbon Engineering’s DAC technology, which is licensed to 1PointFive, in operations at the Byron power plant, specifically in the facility’s two 495-foot-tall cooling towers.

A special chemical solution will be added to the water flowing through the Byron facility’s main condenser on the nonnuclear side of the plant. The water will then travel out to the cooling towers, where carbon dioxide in the air will attach to the chemical solution and become captured and sequestered. The captured carbon dioxide could subsequently be used in other net-zero industrial processes, such as the creation of sustainable aviation fuel or the carbonation of beverages.

The DAC study is expected to conclude in 2023.

Carbon-free future: Dave Rhoades, chief nuclear officer at Constellation, said, “A project like this will give nuclear power, which already delivers the most carbon-free electricity of any source in the nation, an even bigger role in helping America accelerate the transition to a carbon-free future.”

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