Duan to receive $1.2 million in DOE funding for pair of research projects to reduce methane emissions
MANHATTAN — The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that Chuancheng Duan, assistant professor in the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering at Kansas State University, has secured $1.2 million in grant funding from the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management for his work, which focuses on methane emission reduction.
The two projects were both announced by the DOE as part of a $47 million initiative to advance technologies that monitor, measure and mitigate methane emissions across the U.S. natural gas supply chain.
Duan will lead the $1 million, two-year project, "Highly Replicable and Integrated System for Mitigating Methane Emissions from Natural Gas-fired Lean-Burn Engines (NG-FLBEs)," which aims to develop and manufacture a low-cost integrated system for eliminating methane emissions from natural gas engines. He will collaborate with three faculty members from the University of Oklahoma on the project.
Duan and his team aim to build a ceramic thermo-electrochemical membrane reactor, which can convert natural gas to hydrogen and carbon dioxide while separating hydrogen from the carbon dioxide stream. The produced hydrogen will be subsequently blended with natural gas to improve the combustion in natural gas engines and overall efficiency.
Additionally, Duan will work on the two-year project, "Intelligent, Universal, Low-Cost Emissions Reduction Retrofit Kit for Industrial Engines," alongside colleagues from the University of Oklahoma and other industry partners, securing $200,000 of the nearly $1 million in total funding for the project. The project focuses on developing and field deploying an intelligent, universal, low-cost emissions reduction kit that would enhance efficiency in a variety of industrial engines being used in the oil and gas industry. Duan's portion of the project will focus on developing and testing the methane monitoring sensors, which will be integrated into the kit.
"This smart retrofit kit is able to significantly reduce methane slip from different engine types and reduce their operational costs and fuel consumption and enhance their stability and efficiency," Duan said. "The successful development of the proposed smart technology will be a breakthrough step toward the widespread reduction of methane from natural gas engines, and the team plans to collaborate with our industrial partners to fully commercialize the technology due to its market impact and needs."
The technology produced through both projects can be added to various new and old industrial engines without any specific limitations, and it will be designed to be relatively quick to install with wide applications.
Duan is currently directing the Materials Research Lab for Sustainable Energy at K-State with goals to address critical energy and environmental issues. In early 2023, Duan was selected to receive another $500,000 grant to develop a novel method for co-generating liquid chemicals and electricity from natural gas. This project shares the same overall goal of his latest DOE grants to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.