Low-Energy Solvents for CO2 Capture Enabled by a Combination of Enzymes and Ultrasonics
Project No.: DE-FE0007741

Novozymes North America, Inc., and their project partners will design, build and test an integrated bench-scale system that combines the attributes of the bio-renewable enzyme catalyst carbonic anhydrase with low-enthalpy absorption liquids and novel ultrasonically-enhanced regeneration.  The result will be a carbon dioxide (CO2) capture process with improved efficiency, economics, and sustainability when compared with existing CO2 scrubber technologies.

The application of carbonic anhydrase enzyme accelerates inter-conversion between dissolved CO2 and bicarbonate ion, which is the rate-limiting step for absorption and desorption in solutions that rely on ionic complexation of CO2. The application of ultrasonic energy transforms dissolved CO2 into gas bubbles, thereby increasing the overall driving force of the solvent regeneration reaction. Additionally, through ultrasonics, a coupled effect of rectified diffusion is also believed to have the potential to drive dissolved CO2 into gas bubbles at pressures greater than the equilibrium pressure for CO2 over the solution. The combination of these synergistic technologies is projected to reduce the net parasitic load to a coal-fired power plant by as much as 51% compared to conventional MEA scrubbing technology.

Bench Scale Process Schematic
Bench Scale Process Schematic

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  • For further information on this project, contact the NETL Project Manager, Andrew Jones