ENG1281 - Development of new absorber technologies for CO2 capture and usage

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


Damage to the environment due to burning fossil fuels is an established fact and technologies to remove CO2 from flue gases has been developed over the last three decades. Industry is now looking at ways to use this CO2 as a chemical feedstock. Techniques for capture include hot potassium carbonate solutions and amines. These systems require gas liquid contactors as the first unit operation. Conventional spray towers to make this contact are huge, intrusive and expensive and make the foot print of the CO2 capture unit large compared to the industrial site that emits the CO2. This makes the adoptability of carbon capture challenging. Against this backdrop an ambitious and adventurous research programme has been developed to assess the feasibility of increasing the efficiency and downsizing the gas-liquid contacting process by developing a new family of contactors. This includes modifying venturi ejectors to achieve large interfacial area per unit volume of gas. The research programme has been developed together with a leading ejector manufacturing company, Transvac, in Alfreton, Derbyshire. Innovations within the ejector technology as a process contactor will help to reduce the size and capital costs of CO2 capture plant and equipment to a point so they become desirable for end users. There is the possibility to extend this approach to numerous other processes worldwide. To develop a product suitable for carbon capture, both an in depth understanding of the competing phenomena that take place within high efficiency ejectors, and practical considerations of how to replace the contactors in the capture process will be required.This is an opportunity for a motivated, enthusiastic candidate to take an active role in developing process technology to convert an existing carbon-heavy processes to a low carbon future. Following a year of skills development at the University of Nottingham, which will develop research capabilities and give the student a broad awareness of the energy industry, they will devote their time to the investigation of these phenomena, using experiments and modelling capabilities at the University of Nottingham Multiphase Flow Laboratory and the high pressure flow facility at Transvac.

Planned Impact

The proposed Centre will benefit the following groups

1. Students - develop their professional skills, a broad technical and societal knowledge of the sector and a wider appreciation of the role decarbonised fuel systems will play in the UK and internationally. They will develop a strong network of peers who they can draw on in their professional careers. We will continue to offer our training to other Research Council PhD students and cross-fertilise our training with that offered under other CDT programmes, and similar initiatives where that develops mutual benefit. We will further enhance this offering by encouraging industrialists to undertake some of our training as Professional Development ensuring a broadening of the training cohort beyond academe. Students will be very employable due to their knowledge, skills and broad industrial understanding.
2. Industrial partners - Companies identify research priorities that underpin their long-term business goals and can access state of the art facilities within the HEIs involved to support that research. They do not need to pre-define the scope of their work at the outset, so that the Centre can remain responsive to their developing research needs. They may develop new products, services or models and have access to a potential employee cohort, with an advanced skill base. We have already established a track record in our predecessor CDTs, with graduates now acting as research managers and project supervisors within industry
3. Academic partners - accelerating research within the Energy research community in each HEI. We will develop the next generation of researchers and research leaders with a broader perspective than traditional PhD research and create a bedrock of research expertise within each HEI, developing supervisory skills across a broad range of topics and faculties and supporting HEIs' goals of high quality publications leading to research impacts and an informed group of educators within each HEI. .
4. Government and regulators - we will liaise with national and regional regulators and policy makers. We will conduct research directly aligned with the Government's Clean Growth Strategy, Mission Innovation and with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund's theme Prosper from the Energy Revolution, to help meet emission, energy security and affordability targets and we will seek to inform developing energy policy through new findings and impartial scientific advice. We will help to provide the skills base and future innovators to enable growth in the decarbonised energy sector.
5. Wider society and the publics - developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the cost of a transition to a low carbon economy. Need to ascertain the publics' views on the proposed new technologies to ensure we are aligned with their views and that there will be general acceptance of the new technologies. Public engagement will be a two-way conversation where researchers will listen to the views of different publics, acknowledging that there are many publics and not just one uniform group. We will actively engage with public from including schools, our local communities and the 'interested' public, seeking to be honest providers of unbiased technical information in a way that is correct yet accessible.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022996/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2283226 Studentship EP/S022996/1 01/10/2019 31/08/2020 Muhammad Saeed