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S. Korea develops carbon dioxide capture tech

SEOUL -- A team of South Korean scientists has developed a new carbon dioxide capture technology which they claim is the most energy-efficient among currently available methods.

Carbon capture involves removing carbon dioxide from industrial waste gases released into the atmosphere to lower the industry's impact on the environment.

The team led by Yoon Yeo-il of the Korea Institute of Energy Research and uses potassium carbonate to extract carbon dioxide combustion gas released at industrial plants.

The technology known as KIERSOL, can be used to extract carbon dioxide gases released from a wide range of industrial facilities from power stations to steel and cement production facilities, the carbon dioxide content of whose exhaust gases varies from 10 percent to about 25 percent, the ministry of education, science and technology said.

According to the ministry, the KIERSOL technology uses 20 percent less energy in recycling the solvent, making it the world's most energy-efficient carbon capture method available.

In carbon capture facilities, the exhaust gas is exposed to the carbon dioxide-absorbing materials before it enters the atmosphere.

The solvent is then heated to remove the carbon dioxide, allowing it to be reused in the carbon-capture process.

In addition, the KIERSOL process is less sensitive to sulphur and halogen compounds found in combustion gases than conventional carbon dioxide-capturing materials, the ministry said.

Other solvents' higher reactivity with sulphur and halogen compounds means the carbon dioxide-absorbing material needs to be replenished more often.

By optimizing the KIERSOL technology for extracting carbon dioxide from waste gas produced from combusting natural gas, the Korea Institute of Energy Research has also developed KIERSOL-N.

As part of the efforts to facilitate commercial application of the technology, the Korea Institute of Energy Research transferred the KIERSOL-N technology to Hyundai Motor Group's two carmakers - Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.

The carmaker plans to set up facilities to test the technology at its research facility in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province within the year, and to apply the new carbon-capture method to its plants in 2015.

The Korea Institute of Energy Research is also in talks with a number of Hyundai Motor Group firms including Hyundai Steel to apply the KIERSOL technology to steel mills.

The research institute also plans to transfer the technology to local heavy industry companies.

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