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Title: Evaluation of Dry Sorbent Injection Technology for Pre-Combustion CO{sub 2} Capture

This document summarizes the work performed on Cooperative Agreement DE-FE0000465, “Evaluation of Dry Sorbent Technology for Pre-Combustion CO{sub 2} Capture,” during the period of performance of January 1, 2010 through September 30, 2013. This project involves the development of a novel technology that combines a dry sorbent-based carbon capture process with the water-gas-shift reaction for separating CO{sub 2} from syngas. The project objectives were to model, develop, synthesize and screen sorbents for CO{sub 2} capture from gasified coal streams. The project was funded by the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory with URS as the prime contractor. Illinois Clean Coal Institute and The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign were project co-funders. The objectives of this project were to identify and evaluate sorbent materials and concepts that were suitable for capturing carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) from warm/hot water-gas-shift (WGS) systems under conditions that minimize energy penalties and provide continuous gas flow to advanced synthesis gas combustion and processing systems. Objectives included identifying and evaluating sorbents that efficiently capture CO{sub 2} from a gas stream containing CO{sub 2}, carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen (H{sub 2}) at temperatures as high as 650 °C and pressures of 400-600 psi. After capturing the CO{sub 2}, the sorbents would ideally be regenerated using steam, or other condensable purge vapors. Results from the adsorption and regeneration testing were used to determine an optimal design scheme for a sorbent enhanced water gas shift (SEWGS) process and evaluate the technical and economic viability of the dry sorbent approach for CO{sub 2} capture. Project work included computational modeling, which was performed to identify key sorbent properties for the SEWGS process. Thermodynamic modeling was used to identify optimal physical properties for sorbents and helped down-select from the universe of possible sorbent materials to seven that were deemed thermodynamically viable for the process. Molecular modeling was used to guide sorbent synthesis through first principles simulations of adsorption and regeneration. Molecular dynamics simulations also modeled the impact of gas phase impurities common in gasified coal streams (e.g., H{sub 2}S) on the adsorption process. The role of inert dopants added for mechanical durability to active sorbent materials was also investigated through molecular simulations. Process simulations were conducted throughout the project to help determine the overall feasibility of the process and to help guide laboratory operating conditions. A large component of the program was the development of sorbent synthesis methods. Three different approaches were used: mechanical alloying (MA), flame spray pyrolysis (FSP), and ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (USP). Sorbents were characterized by a host of analytical techniques and screened for SEWGS performance using a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA). A feedback loop from screening efforts to sorbent synthesis was established and used throughout the project lifetime. High temperature, high pressure reactor (HTPR) systems were constructed to test the sorbents at conditions mimicking the SEWGS process as identified through process modeling. These experiments were conducted at the laboratory scale to examine sorbents for their CO{sub 2} capacity, conversion of CO to CO{sub 2}, and impacts of adsorption and regeneration conditions, and syngas composition (including impurities and H2O:CO ratio). Results from the HTPR testing showed sorbents with as high as 0.4 g{sub CO{sub 2}}/g{sub sorbent} capacity with the ability to initially shift the WGS completely towards CO{sub 2}/H{sub 2}. A longer term experiment with a simple syngas matrix and N{sub 2}/steam regeneration stream showed a USP sorbent to be stable through 50 adsorption-regeneration cycles, though the sorbent tested had a somewhat diminished initial capacity. The program culminated in a technoeconomic assessment in which two different approaches were taken; one approach was intended to be technically conservative while the second required several key engineering challenges to be met in order to succeed. The project team is confident that, with the proper support, those challenges could be met. The second approach relies on a slipstream of H{sub 2} from the shifted syngas and O{sub 2} from an air separation unit (ASU) to be combusted in the presence of the sorbent for regeneration; termed a regenerating boiler. The approach also makes use of the heat of adsorption to generate >400 MW of turbine quality steam; total plant gross energy output as high as 1 GW was estimated for an IGCC with an initial gross energy output of 737 MW, without any additional coal usage. The regenerating boiler concept could benefit further from additional heat integration, but the results of this effort show a COE of $$97.50 per MWh for a rational combination of operating parameters and sorbent lifetime as well as conservative estimates for steam turbines, gas turbine, and ASU. If the COE of CO{sub 2} transmission, storage and monitoring ($$5.60 / MWh) is added to the base case for an IGCC ($$81.30 / MWh for Case 5 from the DOE Bituminous Coal Report), the cost of CO{sub 2} capture for the regenerating boiler was only $$10.60 / MWh; other regenerating boiler cases are as low $6.90 / MWh. The project met all agreed upon milestones and was completed within budget, more than 25% cost share provided by the project team. Results from the program showed that the SEWGS process has great promise, and with further study and evaluation could become a component of a comprehensive carbon capture program. SEWGS requires a paradigm shift in the traditional approach to carbon capture because the regenerating boiler concept is not a ‘back-end’ solution to CO{sub 2} mitigation. Rather, it is an integral part of the plant operations and is responsible for generating more electricity than the IGCC itself. Schemes could be envisioned where the H{sub 2} production is used exclusively to regenerate the sorbent, with any excess sold as a commodity, and the heat of adsorption serving as the primary driver for power generation. Further work with sorbent evaluation, process modeling and heat integration, and scale-up would be needed to more fully vet SEWGS, but the culmination of this program indicates that additional study is warranted.
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  1. URS Group, Inc., Austin, TX (United States)
  2. Illinois State Geological Survey - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
URS Group, Inc., Austin, TX (United States); National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States