A compact CO2 capture process to combat industrial emissions

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

Abstract

Industrial emissions are an important source of atmospheric CO2 that must be tackled for the UK to meet its legally binding targets. CO2 emissions from industry occur typically from a number of small, low concentration sources with a wide range of flue gas compositions and impurity profiles. For example, in a refinery, CO2 is emitted from many process furnaces, hydrogen production units and power generation plant, and emission points are scattered over several km2. If a centralized CCS plant is applied, a large piping network and compression power will be required. Moreover, the capture unit would need to deal with a wide range of impurities. This is not optimal. Instead, a much more efficient capture process design involves several separate and bespoke capture units at different locations on site, sharing only a common high concentration CO2 export pipeline. It is therefore beneficial to have several compact and flexible capture units, with low operating and capital costs and high efficiency able to use waste heat from different process units.

CO2 capture by using amine solvents is the most mature technology employed in most carbon capture plants, including the world's first large-scale CCS plant at Boundary Dam, Canada. This technology is considered a reference for next-generation technologies. Incremental improvements through the use of alternative amines or amine mixtures with higher capacity and/or lower regeneration/degradation costs are potentially possible. However, major problems with this conventional process remain without a fundamentally different design. They include (a) low mass transfer efficiency in the absorber and desorber, resulting in large equipment size and high capital and operating costs, (b) high energy consumption in solvent regeneration, causing a very high energy penalty and operating cost, (c) corrosion caused by concentrated amine solutions, which makes it necessary to use more expensive materials, (d) thermal and oxidative degradation of amines above 100oC. More solvent make-up means high operating cost

We propose to meet this challenge by combining two technologies, rotating packed bed absorption and microwave-assisted regeneration, which will enable small and flexible capture devices to be installed at a wide range of industrial sites. A rotating packed bed column offers a dramatically reduced volume by 90% compared to a traditional absorption column, while microwave regeneration is a revolutionary method for regenerating amine solutions at 70oC (rather than 120oC) that can operate without a temperature swing and is very fast, leading to further significant reduction in capital costs (by around 50%), in the sensible heat used for CO2 desorption, and in corrosion and solvent degradation by over 90%. CO2 desorption at 70oC also enables the regenerator to use low grade industrial waste heat.

Planned Impact

The research will benefit policymakers planning carbon capture development worldwide and industrial CO2 emitters. High capital and operational costs have been the major concerns in CO2 capture and are the principal barriers to implementation of CCS within industry. By reducing these costs the financial burden on industry and financial companies is also reduced (compared to other carbon capture methods), which benefits consumers as well.

Academic and industrial workers in the area of CO2 capture will benefit from the developed novel technique for CO2 capture.

Academic and industrial workers in the area of microwave heating will benefit from reference data of the dielectric heating behaviour of solvents, and from the insight gained into microwave interactions with solvents at the molecular level.

This technique could potentially benefit academic and industrial workers in many other gas separation processes, e.g. the separation of higher pressure H2/CO2 mixtures for pre-combustion carbon capture via IGCC power plants.

The CCS community will benefit from the personnel trained during this project.

The research will also feed into investigators' teaching in chemical and mechanical engineering at the University of Edinburgh, the University Hull and the University of Newcastle, and for all staff members through short UG research projects.

The experimental rigs developed for this project will continue to be used for future undergraduate and postgraduate research projects at these universities

Publications

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Bougie F (2019) Novel non-aqueous MEA solutions for CO2 capture in International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

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Bougie F (2018) Microwave regeneration of monoethanolamine aqueous solutions used for CO2 capture in International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

 
Description Most of our original objectives have been met. Some delay is due to PDRA recruitments and Prof Wang's job change.
WP1. Rotating packed bed (24 months, Newcastle)
WP1.2, investigating the effect of flow configuration on the rate of CO2 capture and absorber operating costs, has been completed. WP1.3, in which operational correlations were developed for the rotating packed bed, has been completed and these correlations have been passed to Sheffield University for use in optimisation studies. Two conference papers have been published for this WP1.

WP2. Microwave assisted regeneration, amine corrosion and degradation (Edinburgh). This work package has been completed in December 2019. Nine journal articles from this work package have been published, and one workshop/seminar has been organized.
After we found water in solvent solution consumes significant amount of microwave energy, the work proposed in WP2 has been reviewed and revised. Much effort has been made to find new solvents or non-aqueous mixture to reduce the energy consumption during microwave regeneration stage.
We found that the mixture of some solvents provides better CO2 adsorption kinetics, adsorption capacity and much low energy consumption than the solvent aqueous solutions that typically used for CO2 capture. After investigating a number of solvents and their mixture, such as ether (diethylene glycol monoethyl ether - DEGMEE), amide (N-methylformamide - NMF), and a hydroxyl-containing mixture (ethylene glycol/1-propanol - EG/PrOH), monoethanolamine (MEA), we found that DEGMEE solutions, especially those at low MEA concentration (20-40 wt%) showed good absorption and desorption rates but also low energy consumptions during the regeneration steps. The energy/CO2 ratio obtained for the 20 wt% MEA in DEGMEE during the cycling process was found to be 78% lower than the value obtained for the conventional aqueous 30 wt% MEA solution. The use of microwaves to regenerate the solutions combined with the low dielectric constant of DEGMEE may explain these favorable results. The microwaves coupling preferentially and regenerating the MEA carbamates more efficiently than with the use of the other solvents.
For WP2, new aqueous solutions were also developed using potentially more performant amines than MEA. After screening tests, best absorption and regeneration performances were achieved by the aqueous solution containing 40 wt% DMEA + 10 wt% PZ. In comparison to the conventional 30 wt% MEA solution (regenerated at 80°C), this aqueous DMEA + PZ solution gave a better absorption and regeneration kinetics and the regeneration was easier, having a higher cyclic capacity while needing less energy. The regeneration was possible at a temperature as low as 70°C [Work Package 2.7] and the energy/CO2 ratio obtained at 70°C was found to be 73% lower than the value obtained for the conventional aqueous 30 wt% MEA solution at 80°C.
The additional funding is that the response of heating behaviour of a material to microwave varies significantly with the location at the wave position. Through tuning the wave position, we may be able to maximize the difference of heating behaviours of various materials to enhance the selective heating. One MSc student will continue this work from September 2020.

WP3. Modelling of microwave regeneration (Edinburgh MS and PDRA 3) (24th month, Edinburgh)
WP3 has been completed. three research articles have been published and the third article is under review. The objective of WP3 is to investigate the mechanism and numerically evaluate microwave heating in post-combustion CO2 capture using amine.
We accurately evaluated the ability of available empirical force fields of liquid water to predict its dielectric properties, and demonstrated the capability of molecular dynamics simulations for quantitative description of microwave heating of liquids. We concluded the poor quality of existing empirical force fields of liquid MEA in predicting its experimental dielectric properties. We conducted heating simulations of aqueous amine solutions using electromagnetic radiation with different frequencies in the microwave region. In addition to these molecular dynamics heating simulations, we also conducted first-principles electronic structure calculations to investigate possible non-thermal effects of microwave. We found that frequency-tuned infrared heating is very beneficial for an efficient amine regeneration in post-combustion amine stripping CO2 capture technology.
To seek an extra fund to experimentally confirm the above preferential infrared heating computational findings, we submitted a six months research proposal to the Centre for Advanced Materials for Renewable Energy Generation (CAMREG) flexible funding, but not successful. A full proposal of this work is ready for submission to EPSRC. If these results are successfully confirmed, they will give great impact on both energy consumption and performance of the energy-demanding amine regeneration process involved in the post-combustion amine stripping CO2 capture technology.
WP4. Process modelling & technical and economic performance assessment (Sheffield)
6 articles have been published for WP4. Modelling, validation and analysis of RPB absorber model at pilot scale have been completed. Sheffield managed to validate the physical properties (comparison between model predictions and experimental data) for high concentration MEA. They compared different correlation for mass transfer in the context of RPB. The steady state modelling of RPB absorber has finished. Current experimental data (from small amount in batch) using microwave for MEA regeneration is difficult to be used for model validation purpose.
The model-based study indicates that it is necessary to have inter-cooler for RPB Absorber, as high concentration MEA used & the relative low residence time result in an excessive temperature increase (up to 80oC) in RPB Absorber. This will clearly inhibit absorption performance. Two strategies for deploying RPB absorber intercooler namely stationary (shell-and-tube heat exchanger and plate heat exchanger) and rotary intercooler designs were proposed and evaluated. The rotary intercooler addresses both the need for compact design and lower pressure drop. The findings will be very helpful for commercial deployment of intensified solvent-based carbon capture.
We found that modified packed column mass transfer correlations with the "g" term (i.e. gravitational acceleration) replaced with "rw2" (i.e. centrifugal acceleration) commonly used in literature for RPBs generally give poor predictions. The Tung and Mah (1985) correlation gave a good prediction of liquid film mass transfer coefficient in RPBs, slightly better than more complex correlations such as the Chen et al . (2006).
The data of gas film mass transfer coefficient for RPBs were also derived from overall mass transfer coefficient (K_G a) experimental data from the literature. This is the first report of gas film mass transfer data for RPBs in literature. We demonstrated that Chen (2011) predicts gas film mass transfer coefficient better when the parameter (Kn) is updated from 0.023 to 0.23 comparing against two independent data.
The validity of the analysis and conclusions in this study are based on a single type of packing (unstructured wire mesh). With other packing types, namely expamet and retimet among others, the performance of the correlations may be very different. For instance, efforts in our group to use Luo et al. (2012a) for predicting effective interfacial area of expamet packings showed that the predicted values were out of range, although more data is needed to confirm this finding. The performance of the correlations should be demonstrated for other types of packings for RPB such as expamet and retimet as the relevant data become available.
Exploitation Route Publications in scientific journals and refereed conferences
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description The new knowledge and models derived from this EPSRC funded project has been used in the follow-on projects: (a) ARTEMIS funded by the Department of Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The new project will continue from April 2018 to Sept. 2021. The ARTEMIS project is to look at rotating packed bed (RPB) for a patented solvent from CCS Ltd at a much larger scale. (b) A new EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) project, from April 2021 to Nov. 2021 to study the scale-up of RPB columns. (c) A new EPSRC project (EP/V041665/1) for decarbonising heating and cooling will use the microwave regeneration technique developed from this project to use surplus/curtailed renewable for rapid dehydration.
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description ARTEMIS
Amount £882,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EEF5266 
Organisation Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 01/2021
 
Description OPTIMAL - EU RISE
Amount € 1,205,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 101007963 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2021 
End 12/2024
 
Description Project Cyclone Phase 2: Solvent Testing in a Rotating Packed Bed
Amount £66,000 (GBP)
Organisation Carbon Clean Solutions (CCS) Ltd 
Sector Private
Country India
Start 09/2019 
End 10/2019
 
Description Rotating Packed Bed ITT
Amount £290,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Sheffield University 2557DM 
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2020 
End 03/2021
 
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. 
 
Title New models for RPB Absorber and RPB Stripper in Python. 
Description New first principle models were developed for RPB Absorber and RPB Stripper in Python. These models have been validated with new pilot scale experimental data at 1 ton CO2 captured per day. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact These models have been validated with new pilot scale experimental data at 1 ton CO2 captured per day. 
 
Description Collaboration with Dr Yongliang Li at the University of Birmingham 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In this project, we developed a microwave regeneration technique for CO2 capture. Dr Yongliang Li invited me to join the proposal for EPSRC call on Decarbonising Heating and Cooling 2, and I contribute to the development of microwave-assisted rapid dehydration, and Design and construction of the hydration reactor. The project is just approved by EPSRC (EP/V041665/1, £1,846,032). The project tile is "Heat Accumulation from Renewables with Valid Energy Storage and Transformation - HARVEST".
Collaborator Contribution Dr Yongliang Li leads the proposal and works on the development of decarbonising heating and cooling system.
Impact The proposal is just been approved by EPSRC.
Start Year 2020
 
Description A talk at China University of of Petroleum Engineering. The talk title is "Reduce Energy Penalty of CO2 capture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Introduce our work on CO2 capture to the researchers and teachers at China University of Petroleum (Beijing).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
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 Give an invited keynote on the 5th International Symposium on Application of NanoGeosciences in Petroleum Engineering, in China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The conference focus on Application of NanoGeosciences in Petroleum Engineering, including CO2 enhanced oil recovery, CO2 storage. The presenters were from EU, Canada, USA, Australia,India etc. 0ne third participants were from industrial sectors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR cum WORKSHOP ON OIL AND GAS 
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 This conference was organized by professor Subrata Borgohain Gogoi at Dibrugarh University, profesor Xianfeng Fan(myself) from The University of Edinburgh UK and a Professor from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The purpose of the conference are for development of effective technologies for CO2 capture and storage, utilization for enhanced oil recovery. One fourth of the participants were from industrial sectors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited talk at Baihang University in China 
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 I was invited to introduce this project and explain how the compact process will work for CO2 capture in the seminar at Baihang University.
The audiences were from UK, China and Australia. They were researchers and policy makers and were interested in renewable energy and CO2 utilization. People was interested in microwave swing for CO2 capture, and the principle of rotating packed bed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
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 Research Seminar given by Prof M Wang at XJTU in Apr. 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In Apr. 2019, Prof Wang was invited to give a research Seminar by Xi'an JiaoTong University, China.

Research Seminar title "Process/Energy Systems Engineering for Power Plants, Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU), Energy Storage and Bio-Energy"

School of Energy and Power, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China

Audience: Academic Staff, Postdoc Researchers, PhD students - about 60 people
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://epe.xjtu.edu.cn/info/1101/11396.htm
 
Description Research Seminar given by Prof Meihong Wang at ECUST in Dec. 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Research Seminar title "Process/Energy Systems Engineering for Power Plants, Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU), Energy Storage and Bio-Energy"

School of Information Science and Technology, East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST), China
Audience: Academic Staff, Postdoc Researchers, PhD students - about 45 people
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://acocp-lab.ecust.edu.cn/2020/0102/c3756a103719/page.htm
 
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