The Importance of R&D in Advancing Energy Technologies

Organisation: Global CCS Institute

Carbon capture has been practiced at the industrial scale for over 40 years, and it has the potential to be used more widely in the future if breakthrough technologies continue to be developed and commercialized.  Today’s presentation will provide some insight into the development pathway for two of these technologies – MTR’s membrane-based approach and ION Engineering’s advanced solvent-based technology. Their developers will discuss the current status of their efforts and opportunities available given continued support of the development process.Most of the CO2 captured to date has been used to support enhanced oil recovery efforts and has come from high-concentration sources where separation of CO2 is an inherent part of an industrial process, such as natural gas processing or fertilizer production. Costs associated with separating CO2 from lower-concentration sources, such as power generation, are too high to prompt widespread deployment of currently-available technologies. However, research and development efforts supported by the U.S. Department of Energy are leading to the development of 2nd generation technologies with substantially reduced costs and energy requirements. Further development and commercialization of these advanced technologies represents a large potential global market opportunity.

The Global CCS Institute and USEA co-hosted a briefing on the importance of R&D in advancing energy technologies on June 29.  You can watch the video of the event here.

Here is a browsable version of the slides used in the presentation:



Tim Merkel, Director, Research and Development Group, Membrane Technology & Research (MTR)

Dr. Merkel joined MTR full-time as a Senior Research Scientist in 2003, became Director of Process Research and Development in 2007 and Director of the MTR Research and Development Group in 2009.  He is leading MTR’s company-wide program on carbon capture and sequestration, including projects with DOE NETL to demonstrate membrane-based CO2 capture from power plant flue gas at 1 TPD and 20 TPD CO2 field units.  In his earlier work at MTR, Dr. Merkel’s activities focused on innovative membrane and module studies, ranging from evaluation of organic vapor transport in polymers with high glass transition temperatures, to development of novel water transport materials and devices. Dr. Merkel received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2002. Before joining MTR, Tim worked on novel syngas cleanup technologies at Research Triangle Institute, RTP, NC (1998-2002). He has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles, and is co-author on 7 patents and patents pending, primarily in the field of CO2 and flue gas separations. He has also given numerous presentations at academic and industrial meetings internationally, including the 2010 Gordon Conference on membranes.

Alfred “Buz” Brown, Founder, CEO, and Chairman, ION Engineering

Buz Brown has over thirty years of technology commercialization and venture creation experience, including large and small companies, academic and venture capital roles, with particular expertise in early-stage high growth companies. Buz was the founder and/or CEO of over a dozen currently operating companies. Buz received his B.A. from Colby College, his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, and was a post-doctoral fellow and faculty member at Yale University.

Ron Munson, Global Lead-Capture, Global CCS Institute

Ron Munson is the Global Lead - Capture at the Global CCS Institute, where he leads all capture-related knowledge sharing and technical advocacy efforts. These have included development of materials related to industrial applications of carbon capture, the importance of pilot-scale testing of capture technologies, and the impacts of capture systems on water use. Ron was formerly a Senior Engineer contracting to the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). At NETL, Ron supported greenhouse gas emissions mitigation research, development and demonstration programs including carbon capture and advanced combustion systems. In addition, Ron supported the DOE programs all along the commercialization pathway, from process concept through demonstration. Ron holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University.