The chemical industry has been making great strides in its efforts to reduce its impact on the environment and one area offering great cause for optimism is carbon capture.
Among recent advances is the completion of a joint pilot project in the United States by BASF and technology company The Linde Group to improve capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gas at a coal fired power plant at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC). The NCCC is a US Department of Energy (DOE) research facility managed and operated by Southern Company, in Wilsonville and since January 2015, the project operated a pilot plant under an agreement with DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
Following the successful completion, BASF and Linde will begin larger-scale testing and explore commercial opportunities. The technology integrates BASF’s advanced aqueous amine-based solvent and process technology, marketed under the OASE® blue brand, with novel CO2-capture process and engineering innovations developed by Linde. Results showed that it captured more than 90% CO2 from the flue gas while the purity of the CO2 was more than 99.9%.
The design capacity of the operation was up to 1.5 Megawatt-electric (MWe) and required less than 2.8 gigajoules of regeneration steam per metric ton of CO2. In addition, the NCCC includes a post-combustion carbon capture facility that allows testing and integration of advanced technologies using coal-derived flue gas from an 880-MW pulverized coal unit at Alabama Power’s Plant in Gaston.
The pilot plant has operated at the facility for more than 1,200 hours at a higher regeneration pressure of 3.4 bar absolute, thereby demonstrating a cost advantage over other amine-based technologies. Dr Andreas Northemann, Vice President of BASF’s OASE Gas Treating Excellence, said: “The amine-based OASE blue technology offers significant benefits for CO2 capture as it aims to reduce the regeneration energy requirements using novel solvents.
“Long-term pilot testing demonstrated the solvents’ performance and stability. BASF’s almost 50 years of experience in industrial gas treating, combined with the expertise of Linde in large-scale engineering, procurement and construction, will lead us to the commercial scale-up of OASE blue technology.” Dr Christian Bruch, Member of the Executive Board of The Linde Group, said: “The result should prove that CO2 capture is economically feasible, substantially reducing emissions and their negative impact on climate.”