Process Intensification for Post-combustion Carbon Capture using Rotating Packed Bed through Systems Engineering Techniques

Lead Research Organisation: University of Hull
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

The emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has caused huge concerns around the world, in particular because it is widely believed that the increase in its concentration in the atmosphere is a key driver of climate change. If the current trend in the release of carbon dioxide continues, global temperatures are predicted to increase by more than 4 degrees centigrade, which would be disastrous for the world.

With the increase in world population, the energy demand is also increasing. Coal-fired and gas-fired power plants still play a central role in meeting this energy demand for the foreseeable future, even though the share of renewable energy is increasing. These power plants are the largest stationary sources of carbon dioxide. Carbon capture is a technique to capture the carbon dioxide that is emitted in the flue gas from these power plants. This proposal seeks to make a significant improvement in the methods used for carbon capture in order to reduce the total costs.

Post-combustion CO2 capture by chemical absorption using solvents (for example, monoethanolamine - MEA) is one of the most mature technologies. The conventional technology uses large packed columns. The cost to build and run the capture plants for power plants is currently very high because: (1) the packed columns are very large in size; (2) the amount of steam consumed to regenerate solvents for recirculation is significant. If we can manage to reduce the size of packed columns and the steam consumption, then the cost of carbon capture will be reduced correspondingly.

From our previous studies, we found that mass transfer in the conventional packed columns used for carbon capture is very poor. This proposed research is expected to make very significant improvements in mass transfer. The key idea is to rotate the packed column so that it spins at hundreds of times per minute - a so-called rotating packed bed (RPB). A better mass transfer will be generated inside the RPB due to higher contact area. With an intensified capture process, a higher concentration of solvent can be used (for example 70 wt% MEA) and the quantity of recirculating solvent between intensified absorber and stripper will be reduced to around 40%. Our initial analysis has been published in an international leading journal and it indicates that the packing volume in an RPB will be less than 10% of an equivalent conventional packed column.

This proposal will investigate how to design and operate the RPB in order to separate carbon dioxide most efficiently from flue gas. The work will include design of new experimental rigs, experimental study, process modelling and simulation, system integration, scale-up of intensified absorber and stripper, process optimisation, comparison between intensified capture process and conventional capture process from technical, economical and environmental points of view.

The research will include an investigation into the optimum flow directions for the solvent and flue gas stream (parallel flow or counter-current) for intensified absorber and the optimum design of packing inside the RPB.

The proposal will also compare the whole system performance using process intensification vs using conventional packed column for a CCGT power plant. Based on this, an economic analysis will be carried out to quantify the savings provided by this new process intensification technology.

Planned Impact

The proposed research project will benefit a broad range of stakeholders:

(1) The Energy sector worldwide and in the UK: Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommended in its 2007 report that global CO2 emissions be cut by 50% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Power generation is the single largest contributor of CO2 emissions. There are almost 5,000 power plants worldwide with total emission of 10.5 gigatonnes CO2 per year. In 2008, the UK Government agreed to the binding target of an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 from the 1990 baseline. Electricity generation from coal- or gas-fired power plants was 77% in 2009 in the UK. To meet the target in CO2 emissions, it is inevitable to implement carbon capture for the coal- or gas-fired power plants. The UK energy sector will benefit from less capital cost and reduced thermal efficiency penalty when capturing CO2 - the two challenges that this proposed project is to deal with.

(2) Global and the UK CCS research community: In the limited literature, most work deals only with some aspects of intensified absorbers, while intensified strippers are rarely studied (except for one study from Taiwan). New design of intensified absorber proposed in this research is unique. Development of new models from this project (i.e. process models for the intensified capture process and CFD codes) will be published and even commercially exploited. Process analysis of the intensified capture process based on the models newly developed will derive new insights on how and why mass transfer and reaction rate in the new capture process have been improved significantly. Fundamental understanding of the flow regime and flow pattern inside intensified absorber will be obtained. Through publishing in international leading journals, global CCS community will benefit.

(3) UK Policymakers and Regulators: New results (i.e. experimental data, the results on size reduction of intensified absorber and stripper, the results on savings in capital cost and operating cost with the proposed capture process applied to CCGT power plant) potentially obtained from this proposed project will provide reliable evidence base. These are very important for UK policymakers and regulators for strategic decision making.

(4) Power Utilities: Power utilities companies run different power plants. They have to make long term business decisions such as when to implement carbon capture and which technology to choose. They will directly benefit from the proposed project since they can see another choice along the route of post-combustion carbon capture with solvents. E.ON (a typical utility company) owns power plants and sits in the project advisory board of the proposed project.

(5) Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and other technical providers: The OEM companies and other technical providers face different choices in carbon capture. The proposed project will inspire their product development in CCS. ALSTOM (a typical OEM) and software provider PSE Ltd and process technology provider COSTAIN are also in the project advisory board.

(6) Professional training and higher education: The research deliverables and milestones will be fed directly into the teaching programmes in the four universities generally at MSc and MEng levels. The modules relevant with this project are Energy Technologies, and Process Simulation and Design. Companies involved in this project will benefit from staff with improved knowledge and skills and even organisation of short courses for CPD.

(7) The wide public: The wider public will better appreciate the value and role of science and engineering dealing with the challenge of climate change. Technical results will be disseminated with a web site. At Hull City Guild Hall, there will be a Science week each year. University of Hull is a major participator. This proposed project will be disseminated through this event to the wide public.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/M001458/1 01/10/2014 30/09/2016 £1,274,437
EP/M001458/2 Transfer EP/M001458/1 01/10/2016 30/06/2019 £727,910
 
Description (1) The new design of intensified Stripper based on rotating packed bed technology and spinning disc technology can work very well.

(2) The RPB Stripper size can be 11% of the corresponding size based on packed column technology.

(3) Dynamic modelling of intensified Absorber and Stripper ongoing
Exploitation Route Yes, these findings have been submitted to Applied Energy (international leading journals).
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment

 
Description The new generation of intensified carbon capture technology for power plants will influence government decision makers.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Advancing RPB Technology for Reduced CO2 Emissions (ARTEMIS)
Amount £891,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 01/2020
 
Description Advancing RPB Technology for Reduced CO2 Emissions (ARTEMIS)
Amount £891,363 (GBP)
Funding ID N/A 
Organisation Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 03/2020
 
Description DECC - The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund - 4th Phase Application
Amount £167,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2015 
End 06/2016
 
Description EU H2020 Low Carbon Energy
Amount € 3,200,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 727503 
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2019
 
Description Industrial CCS
Amount £982,114 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N024672/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2019
 
Description NANOMEMC2
Amount € 4,200,000 (EUR)
Funding ID URMS number: 147326 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2021
 
Description PACT National Facility
Amount £2,476,327 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2012 
End 06/2016
 
Title Dynamic Model for Intensified RPB Absorber - Eni Oko 
Description The dynamic model is developed for intensified absorber based on rotating packed bed (RPB) technology. The model has been validated with experimental data from literature. With new experimental data from partner Newcastle University, dynamic validation of the model will be carried out. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A 
 
Title Dynamic Model for RPB Absorber with solvent MEA 
Description Rotating Packed Bed (RPB) is a technology commonly used for process intensification. RPB Absorber is very different from other Absorber based on packed column. Based on the observations (studying different correlations for mass transfer, heat transfer and reactions), the new model is developed and its validation is ongoing. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact An oral presentation was given in Nov. 2016 during GHGT-13. A research journal paper based on this dynamic model has been submitted and is currently under review. Part of this model is being used for the DECC funded project with CCS Ltd. 
 
Title Dynamic Model for RPB-based Carbon Capture Process using MEA & Model Validation - XiaoBo Luo 
Description Worldwide there is no report of developing dynamic model for RPB-based Carbon Capture Process. Traditionally researchers worldwide developed steady state models for RPB Absorbers and Strippers based on two-Film Theory. In our group, a dynamic model was developed based on the surface renewal theory for RPB-based carbon capture process using MEA. The dynamic model was also validated at steady state & dynamically. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The dynamic model development & model validation is a necessary step for studying flexible operation of RPB-based carbon capture. The manuscript is under review. Once published, it will lead the world in RPB-based carbon capture process development. 
 
Description Carbon Clean Solutions (CCS) Ltd - New solvents for Intensified Carbon Capture 
Organisation Carbon Clean Solutions (CCS) Ltd
Country India 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Carbon Clean Solution Ltd have developed a range of solvents to remove carbon dioxide from flue gases from fossil fuel fired power stations and industrial processes. These new solvents require less energy and have improved environmental performance than the industry benchmark. Post-combustion capture using solvents takes place in large absorber vessels. For a commercial size power station, these Absorbers can be 30 meters in height. The absorbers need to be large because the mass transfer of carbon dioxide from the gas into the solvent is low. Process Intensification technology allows the size of the absorber to be reduced by improving the mass transfer from gas to liquid. It is estimated that the size of the absorber could be reduced by 90%. In addition process intensification will allow the water content of the solvent to be reduced. This will save operating costs. This project aims to compare different solvents (MEA vs the new solvent from Carbon Capture Solutions Ltd) inside an intensified absorber. Experimental study, modelling and process analysis will be used to compare performance. This is to quantify the potential in reduction of capital cost and operating cost for capturing CO2. The project is led by CCS Ltd and in collaboration with Newcastle University and University of Hull. Hull University - process modelling, simulation and analysis of intensified carbon capture process with the solvents developed by CCS Ltd. From Jan. 2018, new project funded by BEIS (UK Government Department) has started. This is large scale test of the RPB technology for solvent-based Carbon Capture.
Collaborator Contribution CCS Ltd to provide knowledge on their own solvents & sample solvent for experimental study. Newcastle University carries out experimental study using RPB Absorber. .
Impact Yes, it is multi-disciplinary ...
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with Prof J. Chen at department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, China 
Organisation Tsinghua University China
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Prof Chen has many lab equipment for measuring VLE of MEA with water and CO2, and also reaction kinetics. Started from 2015, we found that there is not enough information on different physical properties for high concentration MEA (e.g. from 45 wt% to 85 wt%) such as density, viscosity, VLE and research kinetics. We have started different tests. Now we are processing different measurement results. A journal publication is under preparation.
Collaborator Contribution University of Sheffield can raise requirements from a system point of view. Tsinghua University has enough lab equipment & technical expertise to do this job.
Impact Now we are processing different measurement results. A journal publication is under preparation.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collarboration with Dr Dag Eimer at Tel-Tek in Norway 
Organisation Tel Tek Norway
Country Norway 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Introduced by Prof Colin Ramshaw, we started with tele-conf to exchange ideas and latest development on intensified solvent-based carbon capture. Dr Dag Eimer also visited the project team members. In 2015, we co-authored the review paper and published in Applied Energy.
Collaborator Contribution Current status of applying Process Intensification technology to solvent-based Carbon Capture. Future perspective of Process Intensification technology in solvent-based Carbon Capture. Information on Norway Research Council funded project on Carbon Capture.
Impact In 2015, we co-authored the review paper and published in Applied Energy.
Start Year 2015
 
Description International Flame Research Foundation (IFRF)-PACT National Facilities 
Organisation International Flame Research Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Collaboration agreement between IFRF-UK and PACT national facilities: we will provide technical support to IFRF experimental projects. The partnership will include, our combustion/emission control expertise, intellectual input or the training of staff from industry. It also includes access to data, equipment or facilities.
Collaborator Contribution The members of International Flame Research Foundation will use the PACT national facilities to test their energy systems, fuels and new and novel low carbon devices.
Impact New collaboration
Start Year 2017
 
Description PSE Process Simulation 
Organisation Process Systems Enterprise Limited (PSE)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Research team is working with PSE software to develop virtual reality dynamic simulation of the power plants. In addition we provide data from pilot scale facility to validate the new models.
Collaborator Contribution Providing technical support, seminars and software.
Impact A number of journal publications joint submission of research proposals joint seminars, workshops and CPD courses
Start Year 2015
 
Description A talk or presentation - Research Seminar at Changzhou University, China - Prof Wang 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was invited by the President of ChangZhou University - Prof Q. Chen to have an academic visit to ChangZhou University. I was invited to give a Research Seminar on what Process/Energy Systems Engineering can do for Power Plants, Carbon Capture and Utilisation, Bio-Energy & Energy Storage. Lots of questions raised by the audiences (academics & MSc Research students).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://uni.cczu.edu.cn/2017/1215/c8420a173493/page.htm
 
Description Dr Jon Lee - UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting - Invited Talk - Cranfield - Apr. 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC) organises meetings every 6 months from Sept. 2012. The delegates are academics and research students from UK universities, industrial companies including power plants, refinery, steelmaking and CCS industry.

The presentation introduced the concept of Process Intensification and the potential it may bring to the application in CCS.

This presentation has the potential to guide UK based researchers to work more on Process Intensification.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://ukccsrc.ac.uk/news-events/events/ccs-action-cranfield-biannual
 
Description Keynote talk given by Prof Meihong Wang at 2nd International Conference on Functional Materials and Chemical Engineering (ICFMCE) in Nov. 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In Nov. 2018, Prof Wang was invited to give a keynote talk on "Process/Energy Systems Engineering: CCUS and Beyond...".
This is part of the 2nd International Conference on Function Materials and Chemical Engineering (ICFMCE) held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Around 70 to 80 audiences from over 15 countries joined the session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Prof Wang & Dr Oko - IChemE tce Magazine article - April 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has a monthly magazine the Chemical Engineers (tce).
The Editor invited Prof Wang & the postdoc research fellow Dr Oko to write an article to introduce CCS in plain English.

In this article, we reviewed current status of CCS technology (both Research and Commercial Deployment).
We also predicted future challenges and potential breakthrough.
We explicitly mentioned the project funded by EPSRC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwj39u-RgqDLAhVLVRoKHVzLAA...
 
Description Prof Wang - Doha, Qatar - Invited Talk - Feb. 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Funded by British Council, organised by Prof Iqbal Mujtaba at the University of Bradford, the Workshop on Energy and Water Security took place from 15th Feb. 2015 to 17th Feb. 2015 at Texas A&M University, Qatar Campus.

The event is to encourage academic researchers and industrial researchers to present their stimulating research and knowledge transfer ideas in water and energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Prof Wang - Heriot Watt University - Jan. 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Under the invitation of Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Prof Wang gave a lunch time one hour Seminar on CCS and its recent development.
This has inspired lots of discussions and potential future collaboration on how to intensify the solid adsorbent process for Carbon Capture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Prof Wang - India IIT Gandhinagar - Mar. 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Funded by Royal Society and Indian Department of Science & Technology (DST), UK-India Water, Food and Energy Nexus Scientific Seminar was organised by Prof Iqbal Mujtaba at University of Bradford. The event took place from 2nd Mar. to 4th Mar. 2015.

The event attracted good number of academics from most of the 15 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in the whole India and also industrial practitioners.

The event has inspired lots of interesting technical debates between delegates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Prof Wang - UKCCSRC - Biannual Meeting - April 2015 Cranfield 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC) organises meetings every 6 months from Sept. 2012. The delegates are academics and research students from UK universities, industrial companies including power plants, refinery, steelmaking and CCS industry.

The presentation introduced this project funded by EPSRC (aim/objectives/team members/tasks/project planning). Current progress on the project was also updated. This sparked lots of questions and discussions from the audiences during the session break.

A group of academics from the University of Edinburgh immediately identified new direction for future research. Based on this, we prepared an EPSRC proposal and submitted in Sept. 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://ukccsrc.ac.uk/news-events/events/ccs-action-cranfield-biannual
 
Description Prof Wang - University of Sheffield - Research Seminar - Feb. 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Under the invitation of Prof Peter Styring, Prof Wang was invited to give a lunch time seminar in the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Sheffield. The audience were from the Chemical Engineering Department and Energy2050 (mostly PhD researchers).

The Seminar should be very helpful in inspiring the research interest of the audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Prof Wang - University of South Africa - Invited Talk - Dec. 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In Dec. 2015, Prof Wang was invited to visit University of South Africa at Johannesburg, South Africa.

A Seminar was organised under the invitation of Prof LIU on CCS.

This EPSRC funded project was the main topic of the Seminar. The audiences has strong interest to know this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Research Seminar - HuaZhaong University of Science & Technology, WuHan, China - Jul. 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In Jul. 2016, I was invited to give a research seminar on CCS and its latest development.

Over 50 academics, researchers, technical staff, postgraduate students joined the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Research Seminar - ShenHua Group R&D Centre Beijing - Jul. 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In Jul. 2016, I was invited to visit ShenHua Group R&D Centre in Beijing

I was invited to give a research seminar on CCS.

Around 23 Engineers, Managers and Researchers joined the seminar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Research Seminar given by Prof Meihong Wang at SouthEast University in April 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In April 2018, Prof Wang was invited to give a research Seminar on "Process & Energy Systems Engineering: Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and Beyond ...".
There were around 150 audiences (mainly MSc and PhD students, also including academics and industrial practitioners) from the city of Nanjing area.

Lots of interesting questions from these early career researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018