Prototyping of Fugitive Amine Electrostatic Precipitation (Flexible Funding 2022)

Dr Peter Clough at Cranfield University was awarded funding in the UKCCSRC’s Flexible Funding 2022 call to look at “Prototyping of Fugitive Amine Electrostatic Precipitation”.

Hey there, fellow CCUS enthusiasts! Today, I want to dive into a fascinating topic that might sound a bit intimidating at first: “Prototyping of Fugitive Amine Electrostatic Precipitation.” Don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you in simple terms. This was a project conducted at Cranfield University with support from UKCCSRC as part of the Flexible Funding 2022 call and in collaboration with Petrofac.

First things first, what exactly is fugitive amine electrostatic precipitation? Well, it’s a mouthful, but it’s essentially a cutting-edge technique used to capture tiny, airborne particles from industrial processes. And yes, it’s as cool as it sounds!

Picture this: You’re in an industrial facility emitting CO2 and want to stop that, so you install an amine scrubbing CO2 capture plant on the back end. But then you find out there are all these tiny particles floating around in the flue gas. These aerosol particles containing amines can be harmful to both the environment and our health. Enter electrostatic precipitation, a method that uses electrical forces to attract and trap these particles.

Now, onto the juicy part – prototyping! Prototyping is like a trial run for a new invention or technology. It’s where you take your brilliant idea and turn it into a real working thing. Prototyping allows scientists to fine-tune the process, optimize the design and troubleshoot any issues that may arise. It’s like a real-life science experiment on a larger scale. It’s about figuring out what works and what doesn’t, so we can eventually implement this technology in industries worldwide.

So, what does a fugitive amine electrostatic precipitation prototype look like? Well, it’s a bit like a mad scientist’s laboratory setup, minus the crazy hair (because I’m bald) and bubbling potions – see photo of the facility below. You have this intricate system of electrodes where the magic happens. Droplets of aerosols are introduced into the air stream to simulate fugitive amine aerosols in a flue gas, and when they those pesky particles come close to the electrical fields, they get charged up. Then the electrostatic forces kick in, pulling those charged particles towards the collection plates. Voilà! Clean air emerges on the other side.

Amine ESP prototype

Why is this so exciting? Well, traditional electrostatic precipitators have been around for a while, but not for this application and there will be a great need for new tech to capture amines from flue gases. This means cleaner air for all of us and a healthier planet.

This project was performed by my wonderful team of researchers including Dr Monica Da Silva Santos, Mr Ziqi Shen and, the star of the show, Mr Miguel Gomez. Miguel conducted a lot of the experimental work and suffered through the times when things didn’t quite go to plan – as to be expected in experimental work. Thank you to you all.

During this project we were able to demonstrate a 50% reduction in fugitive aerosol emissions (even though the set-up wasn’t perfect). Lots more to do but it’s an exciting leap forward in the quest for cleaner air and a greener future, and I can’t wait to see where this innovative technology takes us next. Stay tuned for more exciting updates.

Read more on Peter’s Flexible Funding 2022 project page.