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CO2 capture with novel solvents: new results of Sotacarbo research now published

CO2 capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies are considered as one of the key pathways to the decarbonization and the control of climate changes. However, the processes currently available for commercial-scale applications – based on CO2 absorption with regenerable amine-based solvents – show two main limitations: the high energy cost for solvent regeneration and the high toxicity of the materials. Therefore, the current research aims to develop clean solvents and novel approaches, e.g. membranes or solid sorbents.

In this context, novel solvents based on aminoacid salts are very promising. Differently from amines, they are neither toxic nor corrosive (they are widely used, for example, for the production of medicines and food supplements).

The characterization of these materials as solvents for CO2 capture is the subject of a recent experimental research carried out by Sotacarbo in collaboration with LEAP (Laboratorio Energia e Ambiente Piacenza) and Politecnico di Milano. And after the publication, in November 2019, of the preliminary results obtained with potassium prolinate, now the research has been extended with a new publication on the highly ranked International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. The paper, titled “Bench-scale absorption testing of aqueous potassium lysinate as a new solvent for CO2 capture in natural gas-fired power plants” (authored by Antonio Conversano, Andrea Porcu, Mauro Mureddu, Alberto Pettinau, Manuele Gatti) reports the results of the characterization of another solvent, potassium lysinate, for decarbonising power generation with natural gas combined cycles.

“We have carried out a wide experimental campaign in our labs, simulating flue gas from a natural gas combined cycle power plant and processing the experimental results with simulation models developed by our colleagues from LEAP and Politecnico di Milano”, Andrea Porcu (Sotacarbo researcher and co-author of the work) said. “The experimental results show that CO2 capture process with potassium lysinate presents better performance than the corresponding processes based on prolinate resulting potentially competitive with the conventional amine based solvents”, Mauro Mureddu (co-author of the study) replies.

The research, funded by the Regional Government of Sardinia within the “Centre of Excellence on Clean Energy” project, is going on. The achieved results are very promising and suggest to extend the experimental analysis to new solvents, with particular attention to the regeneration process. APettinau