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CO₂ Recovery With Fuel Cell Technology

Tony Leo

August 16, 2023

CO2 has an important role in the supply chain of many industries from carbonating beverages to processing food, producing dry ice, cooling, producing fertilizer, and treating water. Many businesses rely on CO2 to keep their operations running, but where does CO2 come from?

CO2 is a byproduct of chemical processes or combustion. The gas can be released naturally from activities like volcanic eruptions or from industrial activities like ethanol production (or from combustion of fuels specifically for CO2 production itself). Traditionally, businesses have relied on external suppliers to meet their CO2 needs. The commercial CO2 supply can be impacted when ethanol and ammonia plants lower production output or if natural reservoirs become depleted or contaminated. These supply shocks can impact the contractual agreements of CO2 providers, resulting in unfulfilled deliveries or price increases under force majeure clauses. This poses a significant risk to businesses that rely on CO2 for their operations.

Fuel cells can help businesses avoid this risk and enhance the sustainability of their operations with on-site co-production of CO2, heat, and power. The fuel cell reactions convert methane-based fuels into hydrogen, which is used to make power in the cells. The CO2 byproduct can then be captured, purified, and used by the business rather than being emitted into the atmosphere. Self-supplying CO2 with fuel cells can ensure consistent pricing, availability, and quality. CO2 captured from the fuel cell system is already clean because of the lack of combustion products and can be easily purified to ISBT beverage-grade CO2 standards. CO2 recovered from fuel cells can also be sold, sequestered, or used directly on-site.

How will you use recovered CO2? If you are ready to explore the potential of fuel cells for CO2 generation, contact FuelCell Energy today and learn how we can enable a world empowered by clean energy.


Tony Leo

Tony joined FCE in 1978 and has held key leadership roles in research, development, and commercialization of electrochemical systems during his tenure. He is well known throughout the battery and fuel cell industry, and has authored numerous papers, contributed to technical books, holds several US Patents, and has served as Chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers PTC-50 Fuel Cell Performance Test Code committee and as a member on the Department of Energy's (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC). Tony has held numerous positions in the company involved in managing advanced research and development as well as commercialization of the company’s fuel cell products. Mr. Leo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

FuelCell Energy's 2023 Sustainability Report is now available. Learn more