Why is this research needed?
Capturing carbon emissions is still relatively expensive. To drive down the cost of CO2 capture, it is essential to develop more cost-effective technologies than amine scrubbing, which has been adopted from the oil and gas industry for post-combustion capture (PCC) both from power generation and industrial processes. One such next generation technology is solids adsorption looping technology (SALT) which has the potential to achieve lower capture costs than amine scrubbing.
A pilot scale facility for testing will address the key issues concerning scale up, including the thermal and mechanical stability, and moisture sensitivity of the new adsorbents under real process conditions.
What is this research investigating?
The University of Nottingham has an international reputation for developing modified activated carbon and strongly basic polyethyleneimine (PEI)-based adsorbents for low temperature post-combustion capture (PCC), including extensive collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
A pilot-scale facility for low temperature solids adsorbent looping technology (SALT) will be built with £1million funding from G-ERA (Geo-Energy Research Accelerator led by the University of Nottingham, BEIS award of £20million). This continuous facility includes a circulating fluidised bed for adsorption and a bubbling one for desorption, extensive instrumentation and allows for optimisation of heat integration. It addresses thermal and mechanical stability, and moisture sensitivity. This project allows additional materials to be prepared and tested, notably KOH-treated carbon beads, developed in partnership with CAS. These potentially give better performance than silica-PEI for PCC for coal-fired plant and other situations where the CO2 partial pressure is about or greater than 0.15 bar, due to their relatively high adsorption capacities linked to the low heat of adsorption. The Facility will be offered for use within the UKCCSRC community (including potential sorbents from the work package A1).
What does the research hope to achieve?
The results of the research in projects A1, A2 (both this and the Pilot Testing #2) and AC1 and AC2 will actively feed forward into the modelling work in AC3 and AC5, which, as are closely linked to the modelling work that will be carried out under Theme C within combined systems and capture projects. Our findings indicate that SALT is capable of achieving regeneration energies approaching 2.0 GJ/tonne CO2 with CO2 capture efficiencies of over 90%. This provides a firm basis to move forward to demonstration projects as the next stage of development with the goal of achieving CO2 avoidance costs of less than £40/tonne CO2.