Origen Power Ltd is developing a process that uses natural gas to generate electricity in a way that removes carbon dioxide from the air.
Achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement – to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels” - will require not only steep reductions in emissions, but also the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a massive scale.
The process that the team at Origen Power is developing has the potential to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a cost-effective and scalable manner, while at the same time generating electricity.
Origen Power was founded by Tim Kruger and Charlie Curtis in 2013. Both of them work part-time at the University of Oxford – Tim works at the Oxford Martin School, managing a multi-disciplinary programme assessing the wide range of proposed techniques to remove greenhouses gases from the air, while Charlie is an Entrepreneurship Expert at the Saïd Business School.
The Origen Power process supplies natural gas to a high-temperature fuel cell. About half the chemical energy is converted into electricity and the remainder into high-grade heat which is used to thermally decompose limestone (CaCO3) into lime (CaO) and carbon dioxide.
The system is configured in such a way that all of the carbon dioxide generated is pure, making it cheap and easy to either use the carbon dioxide or to store it away safely deep underground. The lime that is generated can be used in a range of industrial processes and, in being used, removes carbon dioxide from the air.
Overall, the process is carbon-negative – there is less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the end of the process than there was at the outset. Normally, if you use natural gas to generate electricity it results in emissions of about 400g of CO2 per kWh. For the Origen Power process that number is about minus 600g – for each kWh of electricity generated there is a net removal of that amount of carbon dioxide from the air.
The process generates four products – electricity, lime, pure carbon dioxide and the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A detailed techno-economic assessment of the process published in the journal Applied Energy (Hanak et al) indicates that if the electricity and the lime are sold at wholesale market prices, then the costs are covered without a carbon price – even as it removes carbon dioxide from the air.
Origen Power has built a diverse and experienced team to forward the commercialisation of this world changing technology.
Co-Founder and CTO
Co-Founder and Non-Exec Director
Origen Power Ltd is registered in England and Wales with company no. 08580554. Registered Office: C/O Edwards Chartered Accountants, 34 High Street, Aldridge, Walsall, West Midlands, WS9 8LZ.