Novel Capture Technologies – April 2015 Cranfield Biannual

This blog was written by Chima Okezue, a UKCCSRC ECR from the University of Hull, who received funding from the ECR Meeting Fund to attend the UKCCSRC Spring 2015 Biannual in Cranfield, 21-22 April. 

The first technical parallel session took place on Tuesday 21 April 2015. Professor Mohammed Pourkashanian (University of Sheffield) chaired the session on Novel Capture Technologies.
Three presentations were delivered on this topic namely:

At the end of the presentations, Professor Mohammed Pourkashanian presided over a “question and answer” segment between the presenting academic researchers and the audience.

A brief summary of each of the three presentations delivered have been presented below:
The Future of Calcium Looping Technology by Prof. Ben Anthony (Cranfield University):
He explained that Calcium looping is one of the newest technologies for removing CO2 from exhaust flue gases produced in industrial plants or power stations. Over the space of 20 years, this technology has made impressive strides. This technology has been demonstrated at the 2-MWth level, and has performed flawlessly. Additionally, a feed study is now underway for the demonstration of Calcium looping technology at the 10-MWth level. The use of this technology for applications related to both the cement and steel industry are also now under active exploration. It is however at the pilot and lab-scale that some of the most interesting developments have been made. These developments are in particular focused on enhanced reforming, and sorbent improvement. This presentation looked at the state of the art of Ca looping technology, and highlighed a number of the most important developments and provide a road map for anticipated future developments.

The Intensification of Solvent-Based Carbon Capture Using Rotating Packed Bed by Dr. Jonathan Lee (Newcastle University):
In this presentation by Dr. Lee, we were informed that cost and energy demand of CCS equipment are the main drawbacks on the commercial application of carbon capture technology for the treatment of flow gases from power plants. Gas flow rates in power plants tend to be typically large. To put things in perspective, for a 500 MW plant, we may have up to flow rates of up to 800 m3/s (i.e. 2,880,000 m3/hr). With conventional technologies, treatment of gases at such huge flow rates involves the use of large and costly equipment. Furthermore, the regeneration of the CO2 absorption medium (e.g. amine solution) consumes large amounts of steam. This presentation described the application of process intensification techniques to plant design so as to substantially reduce the size and cost of the equipment involved while simultaneously reducing the parasitic energy consumption. This will be achieved by application of rotating packed bed (RPB) and laminar flow heat transfer technology to absorption, stripping and heat transfer stages of a post-combustion carbon capture system based on the use of solutions of amine and water.

Presentation on Novel Membranes for Carbon Capture by Prof. Peter Budd (University Of Manchester):
Professor Peter Budd delivered a presentation discussing the potential for energy-efficient and cost-effective gas separations. However, he also spoke about the challenges of developing membrane materials capable of exhibiting sufficient selectivity and flux for a given separation while maintaining performance over time under the conditions of use. For post-combustion carbon capture, the challenge is to separate very large volumes of CO2 at relatively low concentration and low pressure. Typically, a coal power station using post-combustion carbon capture technology may generate 10,000 tons of CO2 per day which contain impurities such as nitrogen at concentrations of 10% to 15%. Professor Peter Budd discussed his research team’s experience with “Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity” (PIMs) as membrane material. PIMs are glassy polymers which possess high free volume and high internal surface area as a consequence of their relatively inflexible, contorted macromolecular backbones. Recent research has sought to tailor the permeability and selectivity of PIM-based membranes, and to improve the ageing behaviour. This includes: (1) bespoke monomer synthesis; (2) chemical post-modification of precursor polymers; (3) thermal or ultraviolet treatment; (4) the preparation of polymer blends; (5) the formation of mixed matrix membranes with a variety of fillers, including: (a) inorganic porous solids, (b) carbons (activated carbons, nanotubes, graphene), (c) metal-organic frameworks, (d) porous organic materials.