Adsorption Materials and Processes for Carbon Capture from Gas-Fired Power Plants - AMPGas

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

The 2008 Climate Change Act sets a legally binding target of 80% CO2 emissions reductions by 2050. To meet this challenge the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) issues regular carbon budgets with recommendations on the way in which the UK needs to reduce its emissions. In its 2010 4th carbon budget, there is a clear plan for power sector decarbonation to 2030, by investing in 30-40 GW of low carbon capacity with a value of the order of £100 billion. This would drive average emissions from generation down to around 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 and includes 4 CCS demonstration plants by 2020. The CCC recognises the key role for the UK of gas fired power plants: 46% of current electricity generation and 35% of emissions are from gas. It also identifies CCS retrofit as an attractive option for existing CCGT plants, indicating that 20GW of plant currently on the system would be suitable for retrofit in the 2020s, together with any plant added over the next decade (10-15 GW). CCGT plants are likely to contribute 25% of electricity generation in the 2030s. Roughly 2/3 of CCS costs lie in the capture process and it is here that the greatest opportunities for savings lie. Therefore, the Government is supporting research to develop improved and lower cost processes and equipment and this proposal is directly aligned with this aim in order to support the UK economy and help the UK take the lead in this emerging technology over the next 10 to 20 years.
In line with the CCC recommendations the focus of this proposal is on capture technology for retrofit to existing CCGT plants. We propose to develop next generation enhanced capture technology and in particular reduce plant size through novel advanced adsorbents and the optimisation of fast cycle thermal regeneration using rotary wheel adsorbers.
Research challenge - The key challenge in post combustion capture from gas fired power plants is due to the low CO2 concentration in the flue gas, approximately 4% by volume. This means that convetional amine processes will have a large energy penalty and the presence of high concentration of oxygen leads to high amine deactivation rates. Novel adsorbents and adsorption processes have the potential to improve the efficiency of the separation process. Given the very low CO2 partial pressure in the flue gas, the selection of novel adsorbents is very different from the equivalent approach to coal fired power plants. The adsorbents will have to have a very high selectivity to achieve good capture capacity with dilute mixtures. As a result these materials will have to be based either on very strong physisorption or chemisorption and the regeneration will have to be by thermal cycling. This poses the engineering challenge of developing a process that will achieve rapid thermal swings of the order of a few minutes, which is over an order of magnitude faster than traditional Thermal Swing Adsorption (TSA) fixed bed processes. We plan an ambitious programme of work that will address both materials and process development for carbon capture from gas fired power plants.

Planned Impact

1. Who might benefit from this research?

Academia - see Academic Beneficiaries section.

Industry - Manufacturers of adsorbents are already directly involved in and supporting the proposed project. OEMs and electricity generators have the potential to benefit from the development of innovative processes that can reduce the size of capture plants, accelerating the development of CCS for gas fired power plants.
Policy makers planning for CCS development needs information on efficient new capture technologies, as will power plant investors who need to make plants built over the next decade 'CCS ready' for new capture technologies that will be applied in the future.

General public will benefit from the improved knowledge of the design of new adsorbent materials and advanced processes for carbon capture applications. This will provide information for public debates and material for School teachers to explain the potential of CCS and how science and engineering are applied in this field.


2. How might they benefit from this research?

Commercial, Economic and Industry benefit - CCS is an industry in its early stages of development and as recognised by the Government research can lead to significant innovation and cost reduction, especially in novel carbon capture technologies, where over 50% of the full chain cost lies. Taking an early lead in the development of new technologies has the potential to lead to clear benefits in terms of both National and International competitiveness. The project includes from the outset collaboration between adsorbent manufactures and a leading OEM of rotary wheel systems, thus providing a direct link that will ensure rapid take-up of the results of the project.

Environmental and Energy benefit - The UK Climate Change Committee has clearly identified a need to develop CCS technologies for gas fired power plants in view of the plans for decarbonisation of the power sector by the 2030s. Therefore this project aims to develop the fundamental underpinning science necessary to develop improved carbon capture solutions that will help meet both environmental - reduced emissions - and energy - continued use of natural gas for security of supply - benefits.
Influencing Public Policy and Legislation benefit - The results of this project will allow reliable predictions of the performance of new carbon capture technology, providing information that will guide policy development and future standards for setting the requirements of CCS for gas fired power plants.

Publications

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Brandani S (2016) Net, excess and absolute adsorption and adsorption of helium. in Adsorption : journal of the International Adsorption Society

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Brandani S (2017) Net, excess and absolute adsorption in mixed gas adsorption. in Adsorption : journal of the International Adsorption Society

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Friedrich D (2015) Automatic estimation of kinetic and isotherm parameters from ZLC experiments in Chemical Engineering Science

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Gibson J (2016) Adsorption Materials and Processes for Carbon Capture from Gas-Fired Power Plants: AMPGas in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

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Greenaway A (2015) Structural changes of synthetic paulingite (Na,H-ECR-18) upon dehydration and CO2 adsorption in Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - Crystalline Materials

 
Description Two classes of novel materials with enhanced separation performance were developed as part of the project. These were optimized to improve carbon capture processes based on rapid thermal cycling in rotary wheel systems studied in collaboration with Howden. Fundamental studies of the mechanisms of carbon dioxide adsorption on small pore zeolites and mesoporous carbons impregnated with amines have led to an improved understanding of the behaviour of these materials and have allowed to identify the optimal conditions for their use in carbon capture processes.
Exploitation Route Two classes of novel materials with enhanced separation performance were developed as part of the project. These were optimized to improve carbon capture processes based on rapid thermal cycling in rotary wheel systems studied in collaboration with Howden. Fundamental studies of the mechanisms of carbon dioxide adsorption on small pore zeolites and mesoporous carbons impregnated with amines have led to an improved understanding of the behaviour of these materials and have allowed to identify the optimal conditions for their use in carbon capture processes.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Title Adsorption Materials and Processes for Carbon Capture from Gas-Fired Power Plants- AmpGas 
Description The key challenge in post combustion capture from gas fired power plants is related to the low CO2 concentration in the flue gas (4 to 8% by volume). This means that conventional amine processes will result in a relatively high energy penalty while novel adsorbents and adsorption processes have the potential to improve the efficiency of separation. High-selectivity adsorbents are required to achieve relatively high CO2 uptake at low partial pressures, which means that the separation process should be based on either very strong physisorption or chemisorption with thermal regeneration. From the process point of view, the main challenge is to develop efficient separation processes with rapid thermal cycles. In the associated paper, the authors present a detailed overview of the methodology behind the development of novel materials and processes as part of the "Adsorption Materials and Processes for Gas fired power plants" (AMPGas) project. Examples from a wide variety of materials tested are presented and the design of an innovative bench scale 12-column Rotary Wheel Adsorber system is discussed. The strategy to design, characterise and test novel materials (zeolites, amine-containing MOFs, amine-based silicas, amine-based activated carbons and carbon nanotubes), specifically designed for CO2 capture from dilute streams is presented. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Comparison of amine-impregnated mesoporous carbon with microporous activated carbon and 13X zeolite for biogas purification 
Description Three materials were directly compared for their potential for biogas purification: 13X zeolite, microporous activated carbon and mesoporous activated carbon impregnated with polyethyleneimine. The amine-impregnated material showed the highest selectivity for CO2 over CH4 but this should be balanced by the higher operating temperature required. All three materials could be used for biogas purification. See Gibson et al. for further details: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10934-017-0387-0 . 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning - A zeolite family with expanding structural complexity and embedded isoreticular structures 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning - Cation control of molecular sieving by flexible Li-containing zeolite Rho 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes