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Title: Low-Energy Solvents For Carbon Dioxide Capture Enabled By A Combination Of Enzymes And Vacuum Regeneration

An integrated bench-scale system combining the attributes of the bio-renewable enzyme carbonic anhydrase (CA) with low-enthalpy CO2 absorption solvents and vacuum regeneration was designed, built and operated for 500 hours using simulated flue gas. The objective was to develop a CO2 capture process with improved efficiency and sustainability when compared to NETL Case 10 monoethanolamine (MEA) scrubbing technology. The use of CA accelerates inter-conversion between dissolved CO2 and bicarbonate ion to enhance CO2 absorption, and the use of low enthalpy CO2 absorption solvents makes it possible to regenerate the solvent at lower temperatures relative to the reference MEA-based solvent. The vacuum regeneration-based integrated bench-scale system operated successfully for an accumulated 500 hours using aqueous 23.5 wt% K2CO3-based solvent containing 2.5 g/L enzyme to deliver an average 84% CO2 capture when operated with a 20% enzyme replenishment rate per ~7 hour steady-state run period. The total inlet gas flow was 30 standard liters per minute with 15% CO2 and 85% N2. The absorber temperature was 40°C and the stripper operated under 35 kPa pressure with an approximate 77°C stripper bottom temperature. Tests with a 30°C absorber temperature delivered >90% capture. On- and off-line operational measurements provided a full process data set,more » with recirculating enzyme, that allowed for enzyme replenishment and absorption/desorption kinetic parameter calculations. Dissolved enzyme replenishment and conventional process controls were demonstrated as straightforward approaches to maintain system performance. Preliminary evaluation of a novel flow-through ultrasonically enhanced regeneration system was also conducted, yet resulted in CO2 release within the range of temperature-dependent release, and further work would be needed to validate the benefits of ultrasonic enhanced stripping. A full technology assessment was completed in which four techno-economic cases for enzyme-enhanced aqueous K2CO3 solvent with vacuum stripping were considered and a corresponding set of sensitivity studies were developed. The cases were evaluated using bench-scale and laboratory-based observations, AspenPlus® process simulation and modeling, AspenTech’s CCE® Parametric Software, current vendor quotations, and project partners’ know-how of unit operations. Overall, the DOE target of 90% CO2 capture could be met using the benign enzyme-enhanced aqueous K2CO3-based alternative to NETL Case 10. The model-predicted plant COE performance, scaled to 550 MWe net output, was 9% higher than NETL Case 10 for an enzyme-activated case with minimized technical risk and highest confidence in physical system performance utilizing commercially available equipment. A COE improvement of 2.8% versus NETL Case 10 was predicted when favorable features of improved enzyme longevity and additional power output from a very low pressure (VLP) turbine were combined, wherein corresponding high capital and operational costs limited the level of COE benefit. The environmental, health and safety (EH&S) profile of the system was found to be favorable and was compliant with the Federal EH&S legislation reviewed. Further work on a larger scale test unit is recommended to reduce the level of uncertainty inherent in extrapolating findings from a bench-scale unit to a full scale PCC plant, and to further investigate several identified opportunities for improvement. Production feasibility and suitability of carbonic anhydrases for scale-up testing was confirmed both through the current project and through parallel efforts.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Novozymes North America, Inc., Franklinton, NC (United States)
  2. Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (United States)
  3. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  4. Doosan Babcock, Renfew (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
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DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Novozymes North America, Inc., Franklinton, NC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States