Anders Lyngfelt
​Anders Lyngfelt, Chalmers University of Technology​
​Photo: Johan Bodell.

Energy pioneer honoured by scientific journal

The prestigious scientific journal Energy & Fuels is dedicating a special issue to Anders Lyngfelt, professor of energy technology at Chalmers, in their series Pioneers in Energy Research. Anders has been chosen for his leading research on chemical looping combustion, a technology that is both very energy efficient and makes carbon capture simple and cheap.
– I am glad to see an increasing interest in capturing carbon and a growing insight that it is one of the tools we must start using on a large scale. We need to do EVERYTHING, turn every stone, both to quickly reduce emissions and to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with negative emissions, says Anders Lyngfelt.
Energy & Fuels has been published since 1978 and as the name suggests, the content spans broad research areas related to energy and fuels. Anders is one of Chalmers and Sweden's most cited researchers and has been published in Energy & Fuels about 40 times. He is the fourth researcher in the magazine's series on Pioneers in Energy Research, the previous three work in solar energy, crude oil and bioenergy and fuels. 

The Pioneers in Energy Research special edition of Energy  Fuels is available here​. The cover also features Anders Lyngfelt. 

– It feels great! In addition to me getting this acknowledgement, I enjoy the fact that our research area gets attention. Energy & Fuels is definitely a significant and serious magazine, with a good impact factor.
That Anders - and his research colleagues - are getting this honor is because they have led the development of the technology chemical looping combustion for a long time. It is an efficient combustion technology that makes it possible to easily and cheaply collect the carbon dioxide created during combustion, for further storage. 

​Increasing interest in capturan carbon dioxide

Capturing and storing carbon dioxide is becoming an increasingly interesting method of reducing global warming. But the flue gases from conventional combustion - to produce district heating and electricity, for example - contain only about 15 percent carbon dioxide and separating it is expensive and also costs a lot of the energy that would go to producing district heating and electricity.

– That is why carbon dioxide capture is only available at two power plants in the world today. But with chemical looping combustion, there is no need for the complicated gas separation. Ideally, in addition to water vapor, it is pure carbon dioxide that comes out of the chimney, ready for storage.

Although Anders and chemical looping combustion are now being featured in Energy & Fuels, the technology is not used anywhere in the industry today. This is largely due to the fact that today there is already existing technology for combustion and that there is not strong enough pressure on the industry to collect carbon dioxide. But now that interest in carbon capture and storage is increasing, so is interest in chemical looping combustion. And the technology can make a big contribution, Anders believes.

– The so called carbon dioxide budget, the amount of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere without us exceeding the target of 1.5 degrees temperature increase, I likely to be finished in 2028 at the rate we are keeping today.

 No matter how optimistic your calculations are, no one believes that we will stop emitting carbon dioxide in seven years - so all emissions after 2028 must be removed from the atmosphere with so-called negative emissions. Here, chemical looping combustion can be very useful.

Sweden can lead the way

One area of use that may be relevant is BECCS, Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage. Carbon dioxide is then collected at, for example, bio-fired power plants to achieve a net reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Anders is one of the organizers behind 2020's conference on negative emissions, the second in a series of conferences with the aim to increase knowledge about the various possibilities that exist for achieving negative emissions.

Anders now hopes that Sweden - from which the development of the technology has been led for many years - will be the first country where the technology is used on an industrial scale.

 My main focus right now is to get someone to dare take the step and use this technology. It is nonsense that it would not matter what we do in "small" Sweden. If we go first and show others how to do, then they will follow. I'm convinced of that.

Text: Christian Löwhagen. 

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Page manager Published: Fri 16 Sep 2022.