News overview

Breakthrough in SEWGS capture technology

5 July 2012

Thanks to a breakthrough in the Sorption Enhanced Water Gas Shift (SEWGS) technology for removing CO2 from fossil fuels, in future energy companies will be able to generate cleaner electricity or hydrogen from coal or natural gas at a lower cost thanks to new technology. ECN esearchers have recently succeeded in developing a new adsorbent that is able to absorb twice as much CO2 as previously used products. This makes the SEWGS technology much more efficient and hence more low-cost than the more conventional capture technologies.  SEWGS enables CO2 capture at only € 17 per tonne, a price that is expected to decrease even further.

SEWGS: pre-combustion capture technology

SEWGS is a relatively new technology that captures the CO2 of a fossil fuel before combustion, thus preventing its emission into the atmosphere. By combining chemical reactions and gas separation, CO is converted into CO2 and subsequently captured with adsorbents. The technology is very promising, but up to now it was much more expensive than existing separation methods.

International cooperation

This discovery has been demonstrated in CAESAR, a European project in which ECN researchers have been collaborating with British, Norwegian and Italian researchers in the past four years in search of options for making the SEWGS technology more efficient. They focus on enhancing the reactor, the process and the sorbent. The CAESAR project is partly financed by the European Union.


ECN is also working on the technology together with Dutch trade and industry in the framework of CATO-2, the national research programme for CO2 capture, transport and storage. The aim of the projects is to get clean, carbon free electricity production from fossil fuels within reach as a supplement to other clean energy technologies such as solar energy and wind energy. 

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5 July 2012

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