A month in Ottawa

Written by Dursun Can Ozcan, PhD Student in Carbon Capture, University of Edinburgh                       

My name is Dursun Can Ozcan and I am a final year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. I work on carbon dioxide capture from cement and power plants, focusing mainly on calcium looping, amine scrubbing, oxy-combustion and membrane carbon capture processes. My PhD study has been based on process simulations after spending two years on experimental analyses of CaO-based sorbents during my MSc at Iowa State University. At the University of Edinburgh, we have been investigating potential process integrations of those capture processes with the base plants while the main intention is to observe the variation in total energy consumption and unit cost per product in the proposed systems. This work is being done under the supervision of Dr Hyungwoong Ahn and Prof Stefano Brandani.

For simulation studies, one of the most crucial requirements is the accuracy of modelling assumptions. Thus, reliable modelling parameters should be included in the simulation of an actual process. While some basic data is available in the literature, the specific ones can be only obtained from a relevant research centre or a company where more detailed research is conducted on the subject. The latest trend in calcium looping process design is the integration of chemical looping combustion into the calcium looping process in order to eliminate the requirement of an energy intensive air separation unit. I intended to examine this process further to see its impacts on my achievement.

It was noted on UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre’s (UKCCSRC) web-site that the University of Ottawa and CanmetENERGY have a joint project on the use of this technology in experimental scale. A travel fund was also available for a student wanting to gain more experience in this field. I felt that it would be a great opportunity for me to understand the principle of this process and so I applied for the joint travel fund provided by CMC Research Institutes, Inc. and UKCCSRC. I contacted Prof Arturo Macchi from the University of Ottawa, who was my supervisor during my visit to Canada. He was very interested in my research area and hosted me for a month, starting from October 2013. It was a really beneficial trip for both of us to exchange our knowledge. At this point, I would like to express my gratitude to Prof Macchi, Dr Mehrani Poupak (University of Ottawa) and Dr Dennis Lu (CanmetENERGY) who supported me a lot during this trip. In addition, I would like to thank Robin Cathcart (UKCCSRC) and Anita Arduini (CMC) for their support during the application process of the travel fund.

I really enjoyed my time in Canada. I participated in pilot scale experimental investigations on calcium looping process and discussed the modelling issues with experts from University of Ottawa and CanmetENERGY. Moreover, I simulated a couple of capture process schemes that they were interested in and transfered my simulation experience to research students in the group. I had a feeling that such funding opportunities allowed me to understand actual process limitations and also create a potential opportunity for future collaborations. I would definitely recommend this kind of travel exchange to other students. Finally, I would like to say couple of words about Ottawa. It was my first time in Canada. All my friends were thinking that Ottawa would be colder than Edinburgh in October but the weather was great! I wore t-shirts for the first two weeks and enjoyed the view of red maple leaves on the ground - which was not possible in Edinburgh at that time. The city is very clean, student friendly and liveable. Finally, I can definitely say that if there is another chance, I will definitely visit Ottawa, Canada again! 

This trip lead to a paper on "Ca–Cu looping process for CO2 capture from a power plant and its comparison with Ca-looping, oxy-combustion and amine-based CO2 capture processes" being published, read it here.

D. Ozcan