US-headed ExxonMobil Corporation, the world's largest publically traded energy company, and fuel cell technology developer and supplier FuelCell Energy Inc. have signed a new, two-year expanded Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to further enhance carbonate fuel cell technology for the purpose of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial facilities.
According to a statement, the agreement, worth up to US$60 million, will focus efforts on optimizing the core technology, overall process integration, and large-scale deployment of carbon capture solutions. ExxonMobil is exploring options to conduct a pilot test of a next-generation fuel cell carbon capture solution at one of its operating sites.
ExxonMobil is working to advance carbon capture technologies while reducing costs and enhancing scalability. This expanded agreement with FuelCell Energy will enable further progress on this unique carbon capture solution that has the potential to achieve meaningful reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial operations, said Dr Vijay Swarup, VP of R&D for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.
Explore large-scale deployment
FuelCell Energy’s proprietary technology uses carbonate fuel cells to efficiently capture and concentrate carbon dioxide (CO2) streams from large industrial sources. Combustion exhaust is directed to the fuel cell, which produces power while capturing and concentrating CO2 for permanent storage.
The modular design enables the technology to be deployed at a wide range of locations, which could lead to a more cost-efficient path for large-scale deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).
Today’s announcement underscores our leadership position in fuel cell technology. We are excited to continue to work with ExxonMobil to tackle one of the biggest challenges that exist today. We have a great opportunity to scale and commercialize our unique carbon capture solution, one that captures about 90 percent of carbon dioxide from various exhaust streams, while generating additional power, unlike traditional carbon capture technologies which consume significant power. FuelCell Energy has always been proud of our technology and our role in reshaping the environmental impact of industry and electrical generation. This is another giant step forward towards the large-scale deployment of this much-needed technology, said Jason Few, President and CEO of FuelCell Energy.
ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy began working together in 2016 with a focus on better understanding the fundamental science behind carbonate fuel cells and how to increase efficiency in separating and concentrating CO2 from the exhaust of natural gas-fueled power generation.
The new and expanded agreement will prioritize the optimization of the core carbon capture technology for integration into large-scale industrial facilities such as refineries and chemical plants.
According to ExxonMobil, it has over 30 years of CCS R&D and experience and working interest in approximately one-fifth of the world’s total carbon capture capacity and has captured about 7 million tonnes per year of CO2, more than any other company.