Establishing a pilot plant facility for post combustion carbon dioxide capture studies

Kritzinger, Liaan Rudolf (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is seen as one of the main contributors to global warming. The use of fossil fuels for power production leads to large quantities of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. The released CO2 can, however, be captured by retrofitting capture units downstream from the power plant called Post Combustion Carbon Dioxide Capturing. Post combustion CO2 capture can involve the reactive absorption of CO2 from the power plant flue gas steam. Reactive solvents, such as monoethanolamine (MEA), are used for capturing the CO2 and the solvent is regenerated in a desorber unit where the addition of heat drives the reverse reaction, releasing the captured CO2. However, the large energy requirement for solvent regeneration reduces the viability of employing CO2 capture on an industrial scale. This study focused on establishing a facility for CO2 capture studies – the main aim being the construction and validation of the results produced by the pilot plant facility. A secondary aim of this study was developing an Aspen Plus® Simulation method that would simplify simulating the complex CO2 capture process. Results from the simulation were to be compared to that of the pilot plant experiments. A pilot plant facility with a closed gas system, allowing gas recycling from both the absorber and the stripping columns, was set up. The absorber column (internal diameter = 0.2 m) was set up to allow one to obtain information regarding gas- and liquid temperatures and compositions at various column heights. Online gas analysers are used for analysing the gas composition at various locations in the absorber column. The pilot plant was initially commissioned with 20 weight % MEA in aqueous solution; however the main validation experiments were conducted with 30 weight % MEA in aqueous solution. 30 weight % MEA (aq) is generally used as the reference solvent for pilot plant studies. Pilot plant results with regards to the carbon dioxide concentration profiles for the absorber column as well as the regeneration energy requirement and capture rates compared well to literature data. The Aspen Plus® simulation was also set up and validated using published pilot plant data. The comparison of the pilot plant results from this study, to the results from the Aspen Plus® Simulation, showed good agreement between the two. The Aspen Plus® Simulation could further be used to validate pilot plant data that has been gathered outside the range of reported CO2 capture efficiencies. The Aspen Plus®model was evaluated at liquid-to-gas ratios of 1.7 and regeneration energies matching the pilot plant results. It was found that the model under predicts the capture efficiency of CO2 with an average of 4.0%. The model was corrected for this error at liquid-to-gas ratios of 2 and the fit of the model to pilot plant results improved considerably (R2-value = 0.965). Pilot plant repeatability was investigated with both 20 weight %- and 30 weight % MEA in aqueous solution. Temperature- and gas concentration profiles from the absorber column showed good repeatability. The maximum deviation of the regeneration energy and the capture efficiency from the calculation means were ±0.72% and ±1.40% respectively. The aims of this study have been met by establishing, and validating the results of a pilot plant facility for carbon dioxide capture studies. It has been shown that the pilot plant produces repeatable results. Results from the Aspen Plus® Simulation were validated and also match results from the established pilot plant setup. The simulation may prove to provide valuable information regarding the optimal operating conditions for the pilot plant and may aid in performing a full parametric study on the CO2 capture process.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Koolstofdioksied (CO2) word geklassifiseer as een van die bekendste kweekhuisgasse wat ʼn groot bydra lewer tot aardverwarming. Die gebruik van fossielbrandstowwe om na die energiebehoeftes van die mens om te sien lei daartoe dat groot hoeveelhede koolstofdioksied, hoofsaaklik vanaf kragstasies, vrygestel word in die atmosfeer. Daar is verskeie maniere hoe die CO2 uit die uitlaatgas van kragstasies verwyder kan word – die vernaamste hiervan is bekend as die Na-verbranding opvangs metode. Die opvangs van CO2 na verbranding van fossielbrandstowwe vir kragproduksie kan vermag word deur van reaktiewe absorpsie tegnieke gebruik te maak. Mono-etanol-amien (MEA) kan vir hierdie doeleindes aangewend word deur dit, in ʼn absorpsiekolom, in kontak te bring met die CO2. Die gereageerde oplosmiddel word geregenereer deur die oplosmiddel te verhit in ʼn stropingskolom. ʼn Bykans suiwer CO2 stroom word vrygestel. Die implementering van hierdie opvangtegniek op industriële skaal lei egter tot groot energieverliese vir die kragstasies. Die hoofrede hiervoor is die hoeveelheid energie wat benodig word om die oplosmiddel te regenereer vir hergebruik. Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie was gemik op die oprigting en inwerkstelling van 'n navorsingsfasiliteit vir studies aangaande die na-verbranding opvangs van CO2. Dit het behels die ontwerp, konstruksie en stawing van gelewerde resultate met resultate in die literatuur. 'n Sekondêre doel van hierdie studie was die metode-ontwikkeling vir die opstel van 'n Aspen Plus® Model wat die simulasie van die CO2 opvangsproses met ʼn reaktiewe oplosmiddel, MEA, vereenvoudig. Gesimuleerde resultate is vergelyk met resultate uit die literatuur. Die toetsaanleg, met 'n geslote gas stelsel, maak voorsiening vir die hersirkulering van gas wat vir eksperimentele doeleindes gebruik word. Die absorpsie kolom (interne diameter van 0,2 m) is opgestel sodat informasie aangaande die gas- en vloeistof temperature, sowel as gas- en vloeistof komposisies vanaf verskillende kolomhoogtes, bekom kan word. ʼn Aanlyn CO2 analiseerder word gebruik om vir CO2 in die prosesgas te analiseer. Die toetsaanleg is aanvanklik in bedryf gestel met ʼn 20 massa % MEA in waterige oplossing; die hoof eksperimente is egter uitgevoer deur van 30 massa % MEA in waterige oplossing gebruik te maak. Die laasgenoemde oplosmiddel word algemeen gebruik in die CO2 opvangs verwante navorsingsveld. Die resultate van die toetsaanleg, vergelyk goed met resultate in die literatuur. Die gesimuleerde Aspen Plus® resultate is ook vergelyk met resultate in die literatuur en die gevolgtrekking is gemaak dat die simulasie gebruik kan word om redelike akkurate voorspellings van die werklike prosesresultate te gee. Die simulasie is verder ook gebruik om resultate, verkry vanaf die opgerigte toetsaanleg, te verifieer en ʼn goeie ooreenstemming tussen die gesimuleerde en die eksperimentele resultate is waargeneem. ʼn Verder gevolgtrekking aangaan die Aspen Plus® simulasie metode was dat dit in die toekoms ʼn groot doel kan dien in die optimeringsproses van toetsaanlegte waar navorsing aangaande die na-verbranding opvang van CO2 gedoen word. Die Aspen Plus® model is geëvalueer by ‘n vloeistof-tot-gas-verhouding van 1,7 en ooreenstemmende toetsaanleg resultate, aangaande die hoeveelheid energie wat ingesit is vir die regenerasie van die oplosmiddel. Die onakkuraathede in die model, met betrekking tot die voorspelling van die hoeveelheid CO2 wat vasgevang sal word, is hierdeur bepaal en die model is daarvoor aangepas. Resultate van die verbeterde model vergelyk baie goed met die toetsaanleg resultate – ʼn R2-waarde van 0.965. Die herhaalbaarheid van die toetsaanleg resultate is ondersoek en ʼn goeie herhaalbaarheid van die temperatuur- en CO2 konsentrasieprofiele is verkry. Die toetsaanleg dui ook goeie herhaalbaarheid met betrekking tot die effektiwiteit waarmee die CO2 uit ʼn gasstroom verwyder word (± 1,40%), sowel as die hoeveelheid energie wat benodig word vir regenerering van die oplosmiddel (± 0,72%). Die doelwitte van hierdie studie is bereik deur die oprigting en verifiëring van resultate gelewer deur 'n toetsaanleg vir studies aangaande die na-verbrandingsopvang van CO2. Die herhaalbaarheid van toetaanleg resultate is bewys. Resultate van die Aspen Plus® simulasie stem ooreen met resultate in die literatuur sowel as resultate van die toetsaanleg wat opgerig is in hierdie studie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80143
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