Volume 192, 2016

On the use of molecular-based thermodynamic models to assess the performance of solvents for CO2 capture processes: monoethanolamine solutions


Predictive models play an important role in the design of post-combustion processes for the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from power plants. A rate-based absorber model is presented to investigate the reactive capture of CO2 using aqueous monoethanolamine (MEA) as a solvent, integrating a predictive molecular-based equation of state: SAFT-VR SW (Statistical Associating Fluid Theory-Variable Range, Square Well). A distinctive physical approach is adopted to model the chemical equilibria inherent in the process. This eliminates the need to consider reaction products explicitly and greatly reduces the amount of experimental data required to model the absorber compared to the more commonly employed chemical approaches. The predictive capabilities of the absorber model are analyzed for profiles from 10 pilot plant runs by considering two scenarios: (i) no pilot-plant data are used in the model development; (ii) only a limited set of pilot-plant data are used. Within the first scenario, the mass fraction of CO2 in the clean gas is underestimated in all but one of the cases, indicating that a best-case performance of the solvent can be obtained with this predictive approach. Within the second scenario a single parameter is estimated based on data from a single pilot plant run to correct for the dramatic changes in the diffusivity of CO2 in the reactive solvent. This parameter is found to be transferable for a broad range of operating conditions. A sensitivity analysis is then conducted, and the liquid viscosity and diffusivity are found to be key properties for the prediction of the composition profiles. The temperature and composition profiles are sensitive to thermodynamic properties that correspond to major sources of heat generation or dissipation. The proposed modelling framework can be used as an early assessment of solvents to aid in narrowing the search space, and can help in determining target solvents for experiments and more detailed modelling.

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Article type
07 Mar 2016
15 Apr 2016
First published
15 Apr 2016
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Faraday Discuss., 2016,192, 337-390

On the use of molecular-based thermodynamic models to assess the performance of solvents for CO2 capture processes: monoethanolamine solutions

C. V. Brand, E. Graham, J. Rodríguez, A. Galindo, G. Jackson and C. S. Adjiman, Faraday Discuss., 2016, 192, 337 DOI: 10.1039/C6FD00041J

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