For those, such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who claim that little, if anything, innovative, comes from the tradional aerospace companies, we bring you today, via The Discovery Channel, news of technology developed in the space program by ATK that could make coal fired plants a bit greener. With funding through ARAP-E, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, ATK is investigating the use of rocket nozzles to help separate carbon dioxide from the exhaust of coal burning power plant.
“When you accelerate air to very high speed, you have to expand the air very quickly. It cools the air and in some cases if you have water (vapor) in the air, it will make it condense into water or even snow. The same idea applies if you have carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a gas under normal conditions, but when frozen forms into what is known as dry ice. The particles can then be pulled from the air by various means, and stored, treated or used in other applications. ATK proposes to pressurize a power plant’s exhaust gas, then put it through a rocket nozzle so that it expands and cools, allowing dry ice to form.” — ATK vice president Robert Bakos