Exxon Mobil and FuelCell Energy, Inc. said Nov. 6 they have signed a new, two-year expanded joint-development agreement to further enhance carbonate fuel cell technology for the purpose of capturing carbon dioxide from industrial facilities.
The agreement, worth up to $60 million, will focus efforts on optimizing the core technology, overall process integration and large-scale deployment of carbon capture solutions. Exxon Mobil is exploring options to conduct a pilot test of next-generation fuel cell carbon capture solution at one of its operating sites.
“Exxon Mobil is working to advance carbon capture technologies while reducing costs and enhancing scalability,” Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development for Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Company, said. “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.”
FuelCell Energy’s proprietary technology uses carbonate fuel cells to efficiently capture and concentrate carbon dioxide streams from large industrial sources. Combustion exhaust is directed to the fuel cell, which produces power while capturing and concentrating carbon dioxide 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.
Exxon Mobil 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 carbon dioxide 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.
Exxon Mobil engineers and scientists have researched, developed and applied technologies that could play a role in the widespread deployment of carbon capture and storage for more than 30 years. The company has a working interest in approximately one-fifth of the world’s total carbon capture capacity, and has captured about 7 million tonnes per year of carbon dioxide. Exxon Mobil has captured more carbon dioxide than any other company.
Steady production growth and a positive investment outlook is expected to restore production of the Permian Basin to pre-pandemic levels by next year, according to a latest report by GlobalData.
The widely anticipated move comes two months after U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration suspended the nine leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending an environmental analysis.
Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield anticipates output in the Permian Basin to grow roughly 5%—in line with his own company’s planned production increases—over the coming years.