DAC is a process that separates carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, helping to reduce legacy CO2 in the atmosphere. The separated CO2 can then be safely and permanently stored deep underground or converted into useful carbon-containing products like concrete that prevent its release back into the atmosphere.
The three hubs are:
Illinois Basin Regional DAC Hub — Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Urbana, Illinois) will lead an effort to promote promising technologies that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the Illinois Basin – a proven geological storage strata stretching under Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. The Illinois Basin Regional DAC Hub intends to develop cooperative relationships between DAC technology providers, green energy providers, CO2 transportation networks, and companies seeking to pump CO2 underground or use it in industrial processes.
DOE Funding: $2,938,528
Non-DOE Funding: $808,057
Total Value: $3,746,585
Colorado (Pueblo) Regional DAC Hub — Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Urbana, Illinois) will lead an effort to promote promising technologies that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground and develop a DAC hub that will build upon previous geological studies conducted on the Denver-Julesburg Basin. The Colorado Regional DAC Hub intends to develop cooperative relationships between DAC technology providers, green energy providers, CO2 transportation networks, and companies seeking to pump CO2 underground or use it in industrial processes.
DOE Funding: $2,999,992
Non-DOE Funding: $751,646
Total Value: $3,751,638
Florida Regional DAC Hub — Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Urbana, Illinois) will lead an effort to promote promising technologies that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground in the Tuscaloosa Group (thick, permeable saline aquifers 4,920 to 7,050 feet deep). The Florida Regional DAC Hub intends to develop cooperative relationships between DAC technology providers, green energy providers, CO2 transportation networks, and companies seeking to pump CO2 underground or use it in industrial processes.
On November 17, 2022 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $100 million in grants for recycling infrastructure and recycling education and outreach projects throughout the country.
Entities eligible to apply for funding through the SWIFR Political Subdivisions Grant Program include “Political subdivisions” of states and territories, such as counties, cities, towns, parishes, and similar units of governments that have executive and legislative functions to be political subdivisions of states and territories.
Applications Due: January 16, 2023 Notice of Intent to Apply Deadline: December 15, 2022 Funding Available: The minimum individual award amount is $500,000 and the maximum individual award is $4,000,000 for the grant period. Grant Period: Up to 3 years
Materials and waste streams considered under this announcement include:
Municipal solid waste (MSW), including plastics, organics, paper, metal, glass, etc. and construction and demolition (C&D) debris.
In addition, materials and waste streams considered include the management pathways of source reduction, reuse, sending materials to material recovery facilities, composting, industrial uses (e.g., rendering, anaerobic digestion (AD)), and feeding animals.
All applications must achieve one or more of the following objectives:
Establish, increase, expand, or optimize collection and improve materials management infrastructure.
Fund the creation and construction of tangible infrastructure, technology, or other improvements to reduce contamination in the recycled materials stream.
Establish, increase, expand, or optimize capacity for materials management.
Establish, improve, expand, or optimize end-markets for the use of recycled commodities.
Demonstrate a significant and measurable increase in the diversion, recycling rate, and quality of materials collected for municipal solid waste.
Eligible activities include (but are not limited to):
Innovative solutions and/or programs that provide or increase access to prevention, reuse, and recycling in areas that currently do not have access; including development of and/or upgrades to drop-off and transfer stations (including but not limited to a hub-and-spoke model in rural communities), etc.
The purchase of recycling equipment, including but not limited to sorting equipment, waste metering, trucks, processing facilities, etc.
Upgrades to material recovery facilities (MRFs) such as optical sorters, artificial intelligence, etc.
Development of and/or upgrades to composting facilities or anaerobic digesters to increase capacity for organics recycling.
Development of and/or upgrades to curbside collection programs or drop-off stations for organics.
Development of and/or upgrades to reuse infrastructure such as online reuse platforms, community repair spaces, technology and equipment to improve materials management reuse options, food donation, and upcycling, staging areas for material reuse/donation, reuse warehouses, and reuse centers, and electronic waste and computer recycling and refurbishing.
Recycling Education and Outreach (REO) Grant Program
The REO Grant Program includes $30 million in funding for projects to improve consumer education and outreach on waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and composting. The grants aim to reduce waste generation, decrease contamination in the recycling stream, and increase recycling rates across the country in a manner that is equitable for all.
Eligible applicants include:
U.S. States, including Washington, D.C.
Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Federally recognized tribal governments.
Native Hawaiian organizations, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Applications Due: January 16, 2023 Notice of Intent to Apply Deadline: December 15, 2022 Funding Available: The minimum individual award floor is $250,000, and the maximum individual award ceiling is $2,000,000 for the grant period. Grant Period: Up to 3 years
Materials within the scope of this grant program include commonly recycled materials, such as aluminum and steel containers, glass, cardboard paper, and plastics, as well as food, organics (yard and tree trimmings, wood, etc.), textiles, batteries, and electronics. Also within the scope of this grant program are education and outreach activities that prevent or reduce waste by reducing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing, recycling, composting, or using anaerobic digestor systems to treat these types of materials or to reduce related contamination.
All projects must encourage the collection of recyclable materials and must achieve one or more of the following objectives:
Inform the public about residential or community recycling programs.
Provide information about the recycled materials that are accepted as part of a residential or community recycling program that provides for the separate collection of residential solid waste from recycled material.
Increase collection rates and decrease contamination in residential and community recycling programs.
Eligible activities include (but are not limited to):
Public service announcements.
Door-to-door education and outreach campaigns.
Social media and digital outreach.
An advertising campaign on recycling awareness.
The development and dissemination of:
a toolkit for a municipal and commercial recycling program.
information on the importance of quality in the recycling stream.
information on the benefits of recycling.
information on what happens to materials after the materials are placed in the bin.
Businesses recycling outreach.
Bin, cart, and other receptacle labeling and signs.
Community ambassador education programs or training the trainer programs.
Other education and outreach activities to improve waste prevention, reuse, and recycling, and reduce contamination, such as evaluations and evidence-based messaging and strategies associated with preventing or reducing waste and improving reuse, repair, refurbish, and remanufacture of materials.
This program provides financial assistance to municipalities, school districts, counties, local governments, or tribal governments (State-designated Indian Tribes, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments) for composting and food waste reduction pilot programs. While applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that meet more than one of the objectives below (inclusion of multiple objectives will be considered when ranking proposals), OUAIP will accept proposals that address at least one of the following:
Increase access to compost for agricultural producers
Reduce reliance on, and limit the use of, fertilizer
Improve soil quality
Encourage waste management and permaculture business development
Increase rainwater absorption
Reduce municipal food waste; and
Divert residential and commercial food waste from landfills.
In addition to meeting one or more of the above purposes applicants are encouraged to align their project proposals to address priorities on environmental justice, racial equity, climate, investment in disadvantaged communities, and climate smart agricultural practices. Priority will be given for each of the following elements that are included in a project:
Anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits for the targeted community;
Incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to agricultural producers, including community gardeners, school gardens, and producers;
Integrate food waste reduction strategies, including innovative food recovery efforts such as, but not limited to, food gleaning, storage, and preservation techniques; and
Include a robust plan that describes collaboration with multiple partners.
Eligible entities should collaborate with two or more partner organizations on their CFWR pilot project. Non-eligible entities may be partners on a project.
ISTC seeks an eligible organization to be the lead applicant on a collaborative proposal. ISTC’s TAP staff will provide support on the cooperative agreement through zero waste technical assistance, education, and outreach. Contact TAP to learn more about this partnership opportunity.
Carbon emissions continue to rise, ratcheting up temperatures and driving increasingly extreme weather events worldwide. Therefore, carbon capture and management will be a crucial step in curbing climate change.
There are two main categories of carbon emissions: point-source and nonpoint-source. Point-source emissions come from a single source such as a power plant or a factory. Nonpoint-source emissions are harder to pinpoint and to address because they cover a widespread area and can come from a variety of sources like automobiles, airplanes, boats, and more.
“In order to offer a more robust solution to carbon management, you have to be able to address both point-source emissions and nonpoint-source emissions,” said Kevin OBrien, director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC).
This 18-month project will explore the possibility of pulling 100,000 tonnes of CO2 from the air annually. Project principal investigator OBrien believes this amount will help offset steep upfront costs and make the service profitable, at least at a commercial scale.
“The potential impact this could have would be immense, because now you can address unavoidable nonpoint sources by pulling CO2 out of the air, hopefully in any type of climate anywhere around the world,” said OBrien.
The project will use DAC technology provided by the Swiss company Climeworks. Climeworks has built and operated several DAC plants in various climates across Europe, among them the world’s first industrial-scale DAC plant in Hinwil, Switzerland, and the world’s largest DAC+S plant, Orca, in Hellisheidi, Iceland.
Three different climates, different renewable energies, and different approaches to carbon storage
Widespread deployment of DAC systems in the U.S. must account for wide variations in regional climates. Temperature and relative humidity can impact the efficiency of CO2 removal technologies.
The ISTC-led team will address climate efficiency challenges by testing the large-scale DAC systems and storing the captured CO2 at three test sites across the U.S., examining the effects of different climate conditions on CO2 storage.
Hot and very dry climate – A test site in southern California near the Salton Sea will be powered by geothermal energy, with the captured CO2 stored in a saline aquifer.
Hot and humid climate – A test site in Louisiana will use solar energy to power the DAC system while storing the captured CO2 in a saline aquifer.
Midcontinental climate – A test site in Wyoming will operate using wind power and store the captured CO2 in a depleted natural gas reservoir.
In addition to Climeworks, major partners in the project consortium include Kiewit Power Engineers, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Gulf Coast Sequestration, North Shore Energy, Sunpower, Ormat, and Sentinel Peak.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $25 million to a three-year project led by the Prairie Research Institute that will design a next-generation power plant in Springfield, Illinois. The innovative plant design combines multiple techniques to both reduce emissions and capture and re-use carbon dioxide.
“With this project, we’re bringing together different pieces of the sustainable energy puzzle,” said Kevin OBrien, who is principal investigator of this project and leads the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) and Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS). “PRI’s scientists have been advancing emissions reduction, carbon capture, and carbon utilization, and this gives us an opportunity to combine all of our expertise and experience in these areas to deliver greater impact.”
The project (Front-End Engineering Design Study for Hybrid Gas Turbine and USC Coal Boiler (HGCC) Concept Plant with Post Combustion Carbon Capture and Energy Storage System at City, Water, Light and Power Plant) is part of DOE’s Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) initiative, which aims to spur innovation in coal-fired plants. While renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, account for an increasing proportion of U.S. electricity generation, these sources are variable; coal provides a stable source of power, ensuring that consumer demand can be met consistently.
Components of the design proposed by PRI scientists and their collaborators include:
A 270-megawatt ultra-supercritical coal boiler subsystem
An 87-megawatt natural gas combustion turbine generator subsystem
A 50-megawatt energy storage subsystem
A post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture subsystem
An algae-basedCO2 utilization subsystem
“While these individual components have been used before, they’ve never been combined in this way,” OBrien said. “Part of our aim with this project is to standardize and modularize these components, so this design can be replicated and more easily maintained. We hope this could become the global standard for innovative, low-emission coal-fired power.”
An ultra-supercritical system operates at intense pressure, which means steam is more efficiently converted to the mechanical energy that drives the turbines to produce electricity. Increased efficiency means less coal is needed for each megawatt of power produced, reducing emissions.
Including both natural gas combustion and energy storage will provide greater flexibility and resiliency. Varying demand is tough on coal-fired boilers, because frequent shut-downs and start-ups cause huge swings in temperature and pressure that cause stress on their components. Natural gas systems don’t suffer the same stresses; they can ramp up quickly to meet surging demand and can be shut down when demand drops. Likewise, the energy storage subsystem will enable the plant to store energy to meet fluctuating consumer needs for power.
An additional benefit is that the exhaust from the natural gas system can be used to pre-heat the coal system, reducing how much coal needs to be used.
The proposed design also includes technology, developed by Linde PLC BASF, to capture carbon emissions before they reach the environment. ISTC is overseeing a large pilot test of the performance, safety, and environmental compliance of this technology at Springfield’s City Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) plant.
Other participants include Barr Engineering Co. (firing systems), Microbeam (fuel treatment), Envergex (control systems), and the University of North Dakota (additional coal sources).
This three-year front-end engineering design (FEED) study will provide DOE with a detailed understanding of the costs of scaling up this power plant design and could pave the way for the construction of this innovative plant in Springfield.
OBrien and co-principal investigator Mohamed Attalla, director of U of I Facilities & Services, and ISTC project manager Les Gioja lead the project, providing combined expertise in power generation technologies, clean-energy generation, and large-scale construction.
ISGS continues studying CO2 sequestration near Terre Haute, Indiana
ISGS is participating in a second DOE Coal FIRST project, which will study the potential redevelopment of the Wabash Valley Resources coal gasification site in West Terre Haute, Indiana. That team, led by Wabash Valley Resources, seeks to convert the existing plant so it can burn biomass as well as coal while producing hydrogen that can be used to generate electricity or sold as a product. This project will capture CO2 for storage in nearby deep saline reservoirs and aims to achieve net-negative carbon emissions by sequestering more carbon than it produces. This connects to an ongoing CarbonSAFE project that ISGS is carrying out at the Wabash Valley Resources site, studying the feasibility of developing commercial-scale CO2 storage at the location.
These projects are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced funding for Phase II of ISTC’s project titled ”Large Pilot Testing of Linde/BASF Advanced Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Technology at Coal Fired Power Plant”. ISTC will receive $2,998,040 in funding from DOE for Phase II.
During Phase II, the project team will continue plans to design, construct, and operate an advanced amine-based post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system at a coal-fired power plant using technology developed by Linde/BASF. City Water, Light, and Power’s Dallman Unit 4 generating station in Springfield, IL will serve as the host for Phase II. The project will allow for knowledge-sharing with coal-fired plant generators across the U.S. and beyond, leading to larger scale operations to reduce energy costs and limit emissions.
“This first-of-its-kind large scale demonstration is vital to the carbon capture knowledge base and experience and will serve as a reference for future commercial projects,” said Kevin C OBrien, ISTC’s director and the project lead. “Technology that helps keep energy costs low while limiting carbon emissions is of interest to communities in the region, our nation, and internationally. The successful completion of this phase and subsequent project phases will demonstrate the technical feasibility of the retrofit and provide a blueprint for power facilities globally. Installing capture facilities to coal-fired power plants also contributes to workforce and professional development opportunities, which are especially critical for economically depressed regions being hit hard due to the collapse of the coal industry and its related supply chain.”
City Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) is a municipally-owned utility that supplies electric and water services for residents and businesses of Springfield, IL. The Dallman 4 unit with an approximate nameplate generating capacity of over 200 MW, was commissioned in 2009, and is the largest and newest of CWLP’s four generating units.
Doug Brown, Chief Utility Engineer at CWLP said, “We are excited to be involved in a project that manages CO2 emissions. It fits well with our interest in supplying energy and water to Springfield in a highly sustainable fashion. We welcome the opportunity for CWLP to be one of the largest R&D capture pilots from a global perspective.”
Organic solids are the main pollutants in wastewater. Removing these solids from wastewater is an energy intensive process. ISTC researcher Lance Schideman has received a $1.98 M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help solve this problem.
The project team includes collaborators at Ohio University, Colorado State University, the US Army Corp of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), Mainstream Engineering, and Aqua-Aerobic Systems.
They will build on previous work by combining the components of their distributed low-energy wastewater treatment (D-LEWT) system into a fully functioning pilot-scale unit. The D-LEWT system converts wastewater organic solids and ammonia into two harvestable fuels for biopower production (specifically methane and hydrogen gases).
The integrated D-LEWT system and the improvements made to the system components in this project could increase the net energy production at wastewater treatment plants by up to ten times that of current systems.
Midwestern farms use subsurface drainage to manage water on their fields. The process uses perforated conduits to remove excess water from soil, which increases crop production and promotes soil conservation. However, these drainage systems can also transport large quantities of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural fields to surrounding watersheds.
ISTC researchers Wei Zheng and BK Sharma have received a $414,380 grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council to develop designer biochars that will capture and recycle phosphorus from tile drainage systems. The project will run from January 1, 2019 – February 28, 2023.
The objectives of this project are to:
create designer biochars to effectively adsorb phosphorus,
construct refillable biochar-sorption-channels to capture phosphorus from subsurface tile drainage, and
recycle phosphorus-captured biochars as a slow-released fertilizer.
The overall project goal is to develop a method that will minimize nutrient losses, keep phosphorus in the closed agricultural loop, and improve crop yields by enhancing nutrient use efficiency.
The research team will conduct laboratory experiments to produce designer biochars by pyrolysis of biomass pre-treated with lime sludge, evaluate their sorption capacities on phosphorus, and optimize their production conditions.
The team will also complete a field study to capture phosphorus losses from subsurface drainage systems via biochar-sorption-channels. The field study will be performed at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Research site in Fulton County. Furthermore, they will conduct a greenhouse experiment to use phosphorus-captured biochars as a slow-released fertilizer to improve crop yields.
Finally, they will perform a cost-benefit analysis and compare their technique with other best management practices (BMPs) on phosphorus removal studied at the same field location.
The successful completion of this project will offer an innovative, feasible, and cost-effective method for enhancing nutrient utilization, which will increase crop production and protect water quality in the Midwest.
ISTC’s technical assistance program engineers have been awarded a $338,549 pollution prevention (P2) grant from U.S. EPA Region 5 to provide on-site pollution prevention technical assistance, including Economy, Energy and Environment (E3), to Illinois food and beverage manufacturers and processors. This assistance will result in reduced water and energy usage, hazardous materials generation, and reduce business costs.
This grant is part of the ongoing Illinois Conservation of Resources and Energy (ICORE) project.
Principal investigator Dan Marsch says, “Since its inception, ICORE has been a very successful program providing on-site P2 technical assistance to businesses in underserved communities across Illinois. ICORE is one of U.S. EPA Region 5’s flagship programs, delivering consistent results and leadership in sustainability within the region.”
Food and beverage manufacturers, processing facilities, and their direct suppliers and supporting industries are all eligible for assistance under through this project. Interested companies may contact:
The new year is a good time to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments, as well as make plans for the year ahead. Last year was a successful one for ISTC’s researchers. They were awarded five out of the five grants they submitted to Department of Energy, as well as one from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. They include:
A public-private partnership that demonstrates the feasibility of producing animal feed and/or biofuels at a significantly lower cost. The project combines technologies for bio-energy production that have been developed at ISTC in collaboration with HeliosNRG, headquartered in East Amherst, NY.
A large pilot scale test of technology to remove CO2 from power plant flue emissions. ISTC partnered with two multinational companies, Linde and BASF, to develop a new solvent based system to capture CO2 from power plants. They have partnered with Affiliated Engineers Inc. (AEI) and Affiliated Construction Services (ACS), which have extensive experience with designing and building systems for power plant applications. The team led by ISTC received $850,000 in spring 2018 for Phase I of the pilot testing project, which involves designing a 10 MW capture system that would be retrofitted to a central Illinois power plant. The group plans to compete for subsequent phases, which could lead to the development of a supply chain for captured CO2.
Advancing carbon capture absorption technology from lab to bench scale. ISTC has been assisting with an Illinois State Geological Survey lab-scale project to develop a biphasic CO2 absorption process (BiCAP) with multiple stages of liquid-liquid solvent phase separation, which increases carbon capture capacity. ISGS and ISTC have received an additional $3 million to conduct a three-year bench scale (40 KWe) study of their BiCAP technology.
Validating two innovative technologies that have the potential to significantly reduce flue gas aerosol concentrations from large-scale coal-fired power production. The technologies will be tested at the University of Illinois Abbott Power Plant. The results will be used as a benchmark for comparing their performance and cost to those of existing options.
An expansion of on-going research being conducted by John Scott and his team. Through funding from the Hazardous Waste Research Fund and the Annis Water Resource Institute at Grand Valley State University, they are studying the effects of microplastic type and deployment time in Lake Muskegon sediments and the water column on sorption of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to microplastic particles. The investigation includes legacy contaminants like chlorinated pesticides, polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). New funds from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant will allow the team to broaden their scope to study the role of microplastics as a carrier of PFAS in water and sediment.