Development of an innovative process for post-combustion CO2 capture to produce high-value NaHCO3 nanomaterials

Significance 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage is a critical technology in the fight against climate change. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and climate change, and reducing its emissions is essential to mitigating the impacts of climate change. Nanotechnology, which involves manipulating materials at the nanoscale level, has shown great promise in the field of CO2 capture. Nanotechnology offers several advantages for CO2 capture. First, it allows for the development of materials with high surface area and high selectivity for CO2 adsorption. Second, it allows for the design of materials with tailored properties, such as high thermal stability and resistance to moisture. Third, nanomaterials can be used in a variety of CO2 capture technologies, including absorption, adsorption, and membrane separation. Examples of nanotechnology being used for CO2 capture is the development of metal-organic frameworks and carbon nanotubes. While preventive methods promote renewable energies and energy-efficient programs, mitigative methods focus on capturing CO2 from existing power plants and electricity generation sources, which accounts for about 42% of global CO2 emissions. Particularly, post-combustion CO2 capture and sequestration strategies are promising routes for industrialized economies owing to their benefits like high reaction rate, non-corrosive nature and low cost. However, these methods use chemical absorbents, which suffer from various inadequacies.

Importantly, it is possible to obtain valuable products during CO2 capturing process. In particular, producing sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) nanomaterials during CO2 capturing using Gly/NaOH solution has drawn significant attention. Due to their high commercial value, the resulting nanomaterials can be sold to offset the cost of the carbon-capturing process. This also presents a novel route for producing sodium bicarinate with a wide range of applications in different fields. In order to produce highly valuable NaHCO3 nanomaterials, it is imperative to develop innovative CO2 capture processes.

On this account, Rui Wang, Dr. Husain Ashkanani and Professor Badie Morsi from University of Pittsburgh together with Professor Bingyun Li from West Virginia University developed a novel process for CO2 capturing from a split flue gas stream emitted from post-combustion coal power plant. The split flue gas stream with a flow rate of 12.43 kg/s contained 0.0023 and 13.33 mol% of SO2 and CO2, respectively. The process comprised five main units designed to remove all SO2 and capture more than 90 mol% of CO2 in the flue gas stream while producing highly valuable NaHCO3 nanomaterials. Their work is currently published in the research journal, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control [1].

The authors analyzed the mass transfer characteristics, hydraulics and the process performance, levelized costs of the CO2 capture as well as the capital and operating expenditures to validate the feasibility of the proposed method. The process hydraulics obtained in the SO2 washing and CO2 capture units showed no flooding in both the countercurrent packed beds. The results for both the flue gas washing unit and CO2 absorber depicted greater gas-side mass transfer coefficients than liquid-side mass transfer coefficients. For instance, the hydraulics in the CO2 capture and SO2 washing showed a pressure drop of 1 kPa and 12 kPa, respectively. Additionally, the normalized specific wetted packing area and liquid holdup in both units exhibited similar behaviors.

The novel process could capture 8.466 tons of CO2 per hour and produce 16.149 tons of NaHCO3 solid nanomaterials per hour. The produced NaHCO3 nanomaterials are in high demand for numerous applications and could be sold to offset the process costs. Furthermore, the captured capital expenditure, operating expenditure and levelized cost of CO2 capture of the process were remarkable, indicating the feasibility and practical applicability of the proposed CO2 capture process.

The importance of CO2 capture using nanotechnology cannot be overstated. CO2 emissions are a major contributor to climate change, and reducing these emissions is essential to mitigating the impacts of climate change. CO2 capture technologies, including those that use nanotechnology, can help reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, industrial processes, and other sources. By capturing CO2 before it is released into the atmosphere, these technologies can help mitigate the impacts of climate change and move us towards a more sustainable future. In summary, a novel process for post-combustion CO2 capture from a split stream of an actual  power plant flue gas was reported. The process comprised five main units: washing unit, reverse osmosis unit, a packed-bed CO2 absorber, ultra-filtration unit, and NaOH makeup unit for smooth operation. The results showed the effectiveness of the process. In a statement to Advances in Engineering, the corresponding author Professor Badie Morsi explained that the novel post-combustion CO2 capture is a cost-effective and promising method for CO2 capture and sequestration in post-combustion applications.

In addition, due to the unique phase-change behavior exhibited by the CO2-Gly/NaOH reaction products, the research team has recently expanded the use of this process into CO2 capture for sequestration purposes. This work is currently published in the Journal of Energy and Power Technology [2]. Thus, this innovative process has two unique pathways as depicted in the figure below. In Pathway (i), the solid nanomaterials are separated and sold as a valuable product (bicarbonates); and in Pathway (ii), the CO2-rich phase is regenerated, and the CO2 released is further conditioned for subsequent sequestration.

Development of an innovative process for post-combustion CO2 capture to produce high-value NaHCO3 nanomaterials - Advances in Engineering
Schematic of the two-pathways CO2 capture process using Gly/NaOH [2]

About the author

Professor Badie Morsi  joined the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982 and he is currently the Director of the Petroleum Engineering Program at the Swanson School of Engineering. He has been serving as the Executive Director of the Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conference since 1999. His research focuses on process and reactor engineering; design and scaleup of multiphase reactors; modeling, simulation and optimization of industrial processes; CO2 capture from flue gas, fuel gas, air and from natural gas using chemical or physical solvents; CO2 sequestration in depleted gas/oil reservoirs and unmineable coal seams; and enhanced oil recovery using CO2 and alcohols.

Professor Morsi has authored and co-authored numerous publications, refereed Journal publication and   (www.pitt.edu/~rapel), has given many invited talks, and along with his research group they delivered many presentations at national and international meetings and leading organizations worldwide. He is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Fuels and as the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Clean Coal and Energy. He is also serving at the Editorial Boards multiple prestigious technical journals, including the International Journal of Chemical Engineering, Journal of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, American Research Journal of Earth Science, SciFed Journal of Global Warming, Trends in Chemical Engineering and Processing Technology, American Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology, and the Journal of Energy and Power Technology.

Professor Morsi received many honors and awards, including the Society of Petroleum Engineers Eastern North America Regional Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty (2020); Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Faculty Fellow (1999-2002) & (2005-2008) and 2022-2023; George M. and Eva M. Bevier Professorship (2001-2005); the Beitle-Veltri School of Engineering Teaching Award (1999); and the CNG Faculty Fellow (1991-1995). He received his Bachelor of Science degree (BS, 1972) in Petroleum Engineering from Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. He also received his Diplôme des Études Approfondies, (MS, 1977), Doctorat d’Ingénieur (PhD, 1979) and Doctorat ès Sciences Physique  (ScD, 1982) all in Chemical Engineering from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Chimiques (ENSIC), Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine (INPL)y, (currently, University of Lorraine) – Nancy, France.

About the author

Dr. Bingyun Li is a full Professor at West Virginia University. He is a member of the Materials Research Society (MRS), Society for Biomaterials (SFB), Orthopedic Research Society (ORS), and American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Professor Li is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Professor Li’s research focuses on advanced materials and nanomedicine. He has supervised 100+ trainees, and his research group has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles (h-index = 49), four edited books, 11 book chapters, 12 provisional/full patents, and 155 abstracts. Professor Li has given 67 invited and keynote talks and has received multiple prestigious awards including the Berton Rahn Prize from AO Foundation, the Pfizer Best Scientific Paper Award from Asia Pacific Orthopedic Association, and the Collaborative Exchange Award from Orthopedic Research Society.

About the author

In September 2010, Husain E. Ashkanani joined the College of Engineering and Petroleum, Kuwait University. In January 2014, he earned his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in chemical engineering. In 2015, Husain was admitted to the graduate program at the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Florida. In August, he earned his M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. In August 2016, he was enrolled in the PhD program at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh. He joined the Reactor and Process Engineering Laboratory (RAPEL), headed by Professor  Badie I. Morsi.

During his stay at the University of Pittsburgh, He worked on identifying and testing numerous potential physical solvents for pre-combustion CO2 capture and performed techno-economic analyses (TEA) on the pre-combustion CO2 capture process. He also authored and co-authored multiple publications on this subject. He also presented his work at the Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conference meetings and won the ”Outstanding Poster Award” in 2019. Upon completion of his PhD in 2021, Husain returned as a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the College of Engineering and Petroleum, Kuwait University. His current research is focusing on carbon capture, environmental processes, and sustainability.

About the author

Rui Wang obtained his Bachelor of Engineering (BENG) degree in Petroleum Engineering from the China University of Petroleum in Beijing, China in 2017. He also earned his Master of Science (BS) degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh in 2019. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Pittsburgh working under the supervision of Professor Badie I. Morsi. Rui is an accomplished researcher whose interest and activities include carbon capture technologies from power plants and air using chemical and/or physical solvents; chemical processes modeling, simulation and optimization; and processes techno-economic analysis (TEA). Rui has authored and co-authored several research papers in esteemed scientific journals, including Journal of Physical Chemistry, Catalysis Today, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, and the Journal of Energy and Power Technology. He also presented his work at the Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conference meetings.

References

[1] Wang, Rui, Husain E. Ashkanani, Bingyun Li, and Badie I. Morsi. “Development of an innovative process for post-combustion CO2 capture to produce high-value NaHCO3 nanomaterials.” International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 120 (2022): 103761. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijggc.2022.103761 .

Go To International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

[2] Wang, Rui, Husain E. Ashkanani, Bingyun Li, and Badie I. Morsi. “TEA of a Unique Two-Pathways Process for Post-Combustion CO2 Capture.” Journal of Energy and Power Technology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21926/jept.2204033 .

Go To Journal of Energy and Power Technology.

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