New carbon capture technology granted funding for further development

Article by Amanda Doyle

THE Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and Carbon CCS-US, the US subsidiary of Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (CCSL), have received US$2.9m in funding to test a prototype that could make carbon capture more cost-effective.

The funding was awarded by the US Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy for a 30-month project to test the feasibility of the new technology, known as ROTA-CAP.

ROTA-CAP uses rotating packed bed (RPB) absorbers and regenerators, unlike conventional carbon capture technology which uses stationary columns. The rotating disc of packing material generates a high gravity centrifugal force which distributes the solvent towards the outer edges of the disc. This provides a higher surface area for mass transfer to occur between the flue gas and the solvent. The project will use CCSL proprietary solvent which can achieve higher CO2 loadings than conventional solvents.

The skid will also include a conventional column absorber and regenerator along with a conventional solvent to fully evaluate the performance of the new method.

The highly concentrated solvent leads to greater process efficiency and decreases the solvent top-up requirements by around 77%. The new technology reduces the sizing requirements of heat exchangers, pumps, and coolers by up to 50% and the RPB equipment has a 90% volume reduction compared to a conventional static column. By reducing the size, the cost is also reduced.

GTI and CCS-US aim to reduce the cost of carbon capture with their technology to US$30/t of CO2 by 2030, in line with the DoE’s carbon capture cost targets. The current cost of carbon capture estimated by the DoE is US$60/t of CO2. The DoE has a target of US$40/t for second-generation technologies which will be ready for demonstration between 2020 and 2025. Third-generation technologies, targeted for demonstration between 2030 and 2035, should have a cost of US$30/t or less.

GTI and CCS-US will design, construct, and test the RPB absorber and regenerator with a simulated flue gas at GTI’s Des Plaines facility in Illinois. The bench-scale skid will then be transported to the National Carbon Capture Centre in Alabama for long-term testing with coal-fired flue gas. This phase will include a 1,000-hour stability test at a rate of 1 t/d of CO2 capture and testing is due to be complete in 2021.

Will Shimer, General Manager of CCS-US, said: "This is an exciting project that promises to further reduce the cost of carbon capture, and the most important feature is that it will be scalable. ROTA-CAP technology could provide a major reduction in both capex and equipment size, enabling wider-scale commercial deployment of carbon capture systems globally."

Osman Akpolat, GTI Technology Manager, said: "This technology aligns well with the [DoE’s Carbon Capture] Program's focus on maximising the efficiency of the current US fossil-based power generation infrastructure and dramatically reducing the cost of carbon capture technology to facilitate commercial implementation.” 

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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