Amine solvent-based carbon capture is ‘most advanced’: IEA
The technology will be marketed to hard-to-abate sectors
A new carbon capture technology created by researchers at the University of Texas is now in the hands of the multinational technology company Honeywell, who said Dec. 15 that it plans to commercialize and scale the technology around the world.
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The university’s Texas Carbon Management Program licensed its patented advanced solvent solution to Honeywell, which the company says it will market to power utilities and steel, cement and other hard-to-abate heavy industries.
The technology uses a patented amine solvent that the university says can lower the cost of carbon capture through capturing emissions from combustion flue gasses. The technology absorbs CO2 into an amine solvent at the point source, then strips the CO2 from the solvent and compresses it for geological sequestration or other uses.
The lower cost is based on comparing the technology’s capital and operating costs against other solvent-based technologies while factoring in carbon capture tax credits, Honeywell said. Under Section 45Q of the US tax code, projects that capture carbon for permanent sequestration receive a $50/mt tax credit, while carbon capture projects in the UK and Europe receive an average $60/mt.
According to Honeywell, advanced solvent carbon capture technology applied to a typical power plant with a 650 MW capacity can capture about 3.4 million mt of CO2 annually.
“We are thrilled that our decades of research has led to carbon capture technology that can significantly reduce carbon emissions,” said chemical engineering professor Gary Rochelle of UT. “The licensing agreement with Honeywell enables us to commercially scale this in ways that can make major contributions toward zero emissions efforts to address global warming and to reduce pollutants in surrounding communities.”
Carbon capture technologies using chemical absorption techniques are one of the most widely used capture technologies worldwide and is used in a number of small and large-scale projects. Chemical absorption using amine solvents is the “most advanced CO2 separation technique,” according to the International Energy Agency.
There are seven other principal CO2 capture technologies, although majority of them are in demonstration or pre-commercial stages, the agency says.
The second-most popular capture technology uses a physical separation technique, where carbon is absorbed into a surface, then released using increased temperatures or pressures. This method is primarily used in natural gas processing plants and ethanol, methanol and hydrogen production, according to the agency. Nine commercial plants around the globe utilize physical separation technology.