press release
Published: 15 January 2024

AI could help power plants capture carbon using 36% less energy from the Grid

Carbon capture could be even climate friendlier – thanks to a study from the University of Surrey.   

Using artificial intelligence (AI), scientists adjusted a system based on a real coal-fired power station. The model could capture 16.7% more carbon dioxide (CO2) while using 36.3% less energy from the National Grid.   

When power plants burn fuel, they produce CO2 – a greenhouse gas. But it can be captured by bubbling the flue gas through water containing limestone. CO2 reacts with the calcium carbonate in the limestone. This produces harmless bicarbonate, in a process known as “enhanced weathering”.   

It takes energy to pump the water and the CO2. The CO2 capture plant had its own wind turbine – but in calmer weather, it took energy from the Grid.   

Using AI, researchers taught a model system to predict what would happen – so it could pump less water when there was less CO2 to capture, or when less renewable energy was available.   

The team hope their findings can be used more widely throughout the industry, contributing towards UN Sustainability Goals 7, 9, 12 and 13.  

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