Liquid Ion Solutions, along with Carnegie Mellon University and Carbon Capture Scientific, will develop and evaluate novel additives that lower the viscosity of water-lean amine solvents for post-combustion carbon dioxide ( CO2) capture. The project will focus on developing a solvent additive that minimizes the formation of long-range hydrogen bonding (HB) networks, in turn decreasing the solvent viscosity and improving the process economics. The goal of the project is to evaluate, at lab scale, the effectiveness of ether and ester HB disruptor additives in lowering solvent viscosity without having an adverse impact on CO2 capture capacity. Three model solvents will be prepared using amines that encompass the characteristics of most amines used in water-lean solvents, and the solvents will be studied computationally and experimentally to benchmark the behavior of the solvents’ viscosity in the presence of CO2. The project team will then use simulation models to understand the molecular interactions in water-lean solvents and identify additives that disrupt HB networks effectively, measure solvent viscosity reduction with additives at lab scale, optimize the combination of additive/solvent and test the optimized system in synthetic flue gas, and perform a cost-benefit analysis to examine the advantage of using additives for solvent viscosity reduction.
The development of an HB disruptor additive capable of significantly reducing the viscosity of any water-lean chemical solvent will allow for increased heat exchanger and mass transfer efficiency, thus lowering the capital and operating costs for CO2 capture. The project is also aiming for a reduction in the cost of CO2 captured of $2 per tonne or greater, enabling commercial deployment of a transformational solvent-based technology for a coal-fired power plant to meet the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Carbon Capture Program goal of approximately $30 per tonne of CO2 captured with 95 percent CO2 purity.