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03-29-2005

Clarkson Students To Present Economical And Efficient System For Removing Carbon In Power Plant Emissions At International Environmental Competition

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/cure2005.jpg]

Students from Clarkson University will compete among 33 teams from the U.S., Canada and China at the 15th Annual Environmental Design Contest to be held April 3-7 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M.The Clarkson University Remediation Engineers (CURE) team

The competition, sponsored by WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development, challenges student teams to develop novel and innovative solutions for real-world environmental problems that have been submitted by various companies and government institutions.

The Clarkson University Remediation Engineers (CURE) team will present innovative techniques they developed to remove and store carbon dioxide emitted in coal-fired power plant flue gas.

“Coal-fired power plants generate 51 percent of the energy we use today in the U.S.,” said Brian Malone, a senior civil engineering major and CURE team member. “But these power plants have also been proven to be the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide. Our challenge was to develop an economical and effective carbon sequestration system that can be implemented as an additional process in present flue gas treatment.”

The CURE team designed a process utilizing steel slag from the steel manufacturing industry that can be implemented into an already functioning coal-fired power plant. Labor, health, safety and economic considerations have been incorporated into the process design.

“Their solution is a highly creative one,” said Stefan Grimberg, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and team advisor. “Their process uses steel slag, which is a byproduct of the steel manufacturing process and has very little market value, to extract the carbon dioxide. The result is the production of calcium carbonate (limestone) and hydrated slag, both of which can be sold and used by other industries.  So the students have used a waste product to solve their problem and the resulting products have considerable market value.”

The team must prepare four different presentations: written, oral, a bench-scale model, and poster as part of the competition. They will be judged by environmental professionals representing government, industry and academia. Cash prizes totaling $25,000 will be awarded during the competition.

The Clarkson team is composed of graduate student William Guerra of Utica, N.Y.; seniors Chase Gerbig of Honeoye Falls, N.Y.; Christopher Kennedy of Pittsford, N.Y.; Brian Malone of Underhill, Vt.; Brian Murray of Victoria, British Columbia; Jordan Winkler of Colchester, Vt.; and Andrew Zamurs ’05 of Slingerlands, N.Y.

The WERC consortium is comprised of New Mexico State University, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, the University of New Mexico, Diné College, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. For more information, visit the WERC Web site at www.werc.net.

CURE is one of the University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) programs, which promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities. SPEED projects involve more than 250 undergraduates annually in engineering design and analysis, fabrication and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communication skills. The SPEED program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives promoting the "Vision of a Clarkson Education" through experiential learning by hands-on application of academic theory to real-world problems.

SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund, and Procter & Gamble. SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Clarkson University Remediation Engineers (CURE) team prepare to compete against 32 other teams at the 15th Annual Environmental Design Contest held April 3-7 in New Mexico. The international competition challenges student teams to develop innovative solutions for real-world environmental problems that have been submitted by companies and government institutions The Clarkson team will present a process they have developed to remove and store carbon dioxide emitted in coal-fired power plant flue gas. (L-R) Here, senior Jordan Winkler measures the carbon dioxide absorption levels while teammates Chase Gerbig and Andrew Zamurs adjust the water flow rate and calcium oxide concentration to optimize CO2 absorption from the flue gas.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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