” University of Akron professor Steven Chuang is leading research projects that will develop a stronger fuel cell and collect energy from traditional coal-burning plants. Chuang, who has been a professor at Akron for almost 23 years, has been following the development of clean coal technology for many years.””
University of Akron professor Steven Chuang is leading research projects that will develop a stronger fuel cell and collect energy from traditional coal-burning plants.
Chuang, who has been a professor at Akron for almost 23 years, has been following the development of clean coal technology for many years.
Coal has been burned to produce electricity for approximately 100 years. However, it has been used for many other things for almost as long as mankind has been around.
Although coal is not as visible as it was 100 years ago, it is still being used. In fact, coal production has increased by nearly 70 percent since the 1970s.
The main problem and concern with burning coal is pollution. Chuang wants to find a way to reduce or eliminate the gases emitted when coal is burned.
He also wants to reduce the cost. Currently, it costs $30 to remove one ton of carbon dioxide. Chuang wants to be able to remove one ton of carbon dioxide for $10.
Chuang and his team are working on two related projects.
The goal of the fuel cell project is to create a coal-based fuel cell that will emit less pollution. They have been working on it for four years.
The carbon dioxide capture project, which has been in development for eight years, is focused on removing carbon dioxide from the gases emitted by coal.
Carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases, which are believed to have a considerable impact on climate change, are a major concern in the United States right now.
Chuang is hoping to get a prototype of the projects out within a year. He explained that there is approximately a 90 percent chance of a project being successful on a large-scale, or in real life, if it is successful on a small-scale prototype.
Chuang, modest about his accomplishments, said that his projects are based on proven chemistry and technology.
The information we are using can be found in college or even high school chemistry classes, he said.
Chuang continued to say that he and his team are simply finding new and innovative ways to combine already known information.
I never thought it would have such a significant impact, he said.
The Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) have granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to Chuang’s research.
FirstEnergy pledged $2 million to the University of Akron to fund the FirstEnergy Advanced Energy Research Center, which opened in the fall of 2008.
The FirstEnergy Advanced Energy Research Center houses Chuang’s developments and provides students with better learning environment.
We are able to bring in more talent and give students the opportunity to use the correct equipment. It has been very useful, Chuang said of the new research center.
The success of the fuel cell project and the carbon dioxide capture project could revolutionize community power across the country.
Although he is modest, Chuang is confident that his projects will be successful within the next few years.
If one asks Chuang what the benefits will be if the projects are successful, he corrects them before answering and says,
When the projects are successful, not if.