Accelerating the Development of "Transformational" Solvents for CO2 Separations Email Page
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Performer: PNNL - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Solvent development approach
Solvent development approach
Website: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Award Number: FWP-65872
Project Duration: 04/01/2014 – 09/30/2017
Total Award Value: $4,061,000
DOE Share: $4,061,000
Performer Share: $0
Technology Area: Post-Combustion Capture
Key Technology: Solvents
Location: Richland, Washington

Project Description

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is further developing their transformational solvent-based system for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture from power plant flue gas. The process couples a non-aqueous, switchable organic solvent (CO2-binding organic liquids [CO2BOLs]) platform with a unique polarity-swing-assisted regeneration (PSAR). PNNL tested the CO2BOL/PSAR process at bench-scale in a previous U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project (FE0007466) and found that the formulation of the CO2BOL showed promising gains in net power, but also showed capital cost impracticality due to high viscosity. The focus of this project is to optimize, synthesize, and characterize CO2BOL solvents to identify candidates with a CO2-loaded viscosity below 50 centipoises and a material cost no greater than $10 per kilogram. Data from the new solvent variants will also be used to develop an understanding of how molecular structure impacts viscosity in transformational solvent systems. Phase I of the project focuses on designing and predicting physical and thermodynamic properties of solvents. Promising candidates will be synthesized and characterized, and solvent properties will be compared with predicted molecular simulations; liquid phase structure property correlations will be made. Candidates meeting desired synthetic costs and viscosity targets will be synthesized and studied further. In Phase II, the focus is on physical and thermodynamic property measurements to validate property predictions. The data will be added to thermodynamic and process models to project process performance, notably energetics and costing.

Predecessor Project: FE0007466

Project Benefits

PNNL’s transformational solvents will reduce capital and operating costs for post-combustion CO2 capture. Identification and validation of CO2BOL solvents with improved viscosity and cost will progress toward making this a viable technology for carbon capture and aid in advancing transformational solvents through the technology readiness scale, priming them for commercialization.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Isaac Aurelio:
Technology Manager Lynn Brickett:
Principal Investigator David Heldebrant:


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