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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M001458/2
Title: Process Intensification for Post-combustion Carbon Capture using Rotating Packed Bed through Systems Engineering Techniques
Principal Investigator: Wang, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Lee, Dr J Pourkashanian, Professor M Shah, Professor N
Adjiman, Professor CS Rubini, Professor P Ma, Professor L
Korre, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Alstom Group Costain E.On
Process Systems Enterprises Ltd
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2016 Ends: 31 December 2018 Value (£): 727,910
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Carbon Capture & Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Jun 2014 Challenges in Carbon Capture for CCS Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has caused huge concerns around the world, in particular because it is widely believed that the increase in its concentration in the atmosphere is a key driver of climate change. If the current trend in the release of carbon dioxide continues, global temperatures are predicted to increase by more than 4 degrees centigrade, which would be disastrous for the world.

With the increase in world population, the energy demand is also increasing. Coal-fired and gas-fired power plants still play a central role in meeting this energy demand for the foreseeable future, even though the share of renewable energy is increasing. These power plants are the largest stationary sources of carbon dioxide. Carbon capture is a technique to capture the carbon dioxide that is emitted in the flue gas from these power plants. This proposal seeks to make a significant improvement in the methods used for carbon capture in order to reduce the total costs.

Post-combustion CO2 capture by chemical absorption using solvents (for example, monoethanolamine - MEA) is one of the most mature technologies. The conventional technology uses large packed columns. The cost to build and run the capture plants for power plants is currently very high because: (1) the packed columns are very large in size; (2) the amount of steam consumed to regenerate solvents for recirculation is significant. If we can manage to reduce the size of packed columns and the steam consumption, then the cost of carbon capture will be reduced correspondingly.

From our previous studies, we found that mass transfer in the conventional packed columns used for carbon capture is very poor. This proposed research is expected to make very significant improvements in mass transfer. The key idea is to rotate the packed column so that it spins at hundreds of times per minute - a so-called rotating packed bed (RPB). A better mass transfer will be generated inside the RPB due to higher contact area. With an intensified capture process, a higher concentration of solvent can be used (for example 70 wt% MEA) and the quantity of recirculating solvent between intensified absorber and stripper will be reduced to around 40%. Our initial analysis has been published in an international leading journal and it indicates that the packing volume in an RPB will be less than 10% of an equivalent conventional packed column.

This proposal will investigate how to design and operate the RPB in order to separate carbon dioxide most efficiently from flue gas. The work will include design of new experimental rigs, experimental study, process modelling and simulation, system integration, scale-up of intensified absorber and stripper, process optimisation, comparison between intensified capture process and conventional capture process from technical, economical and environmental points of view.

The research will include an investigation into the optimum flow directions for the solvent and flue gas stream (parallel flow or counter-current) for intensified absorber and the optimum design of packing inside the RPB.

The proposal will also compare the whole system performance using process intensification vs using conventional packed column for a CCGT power plant. Based on this, an economic analysis will be carried out to quantify the savings provided by this new process intensification technology.
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