The study of the performance of CO2 capture processes in pilot- and demonstration-scale plants is crucial in providing valuable insights into the operating strategies (start-up, operational reliability, control and flexibility) of future full-scale plants, to obtain reliable data and identify technical bottlenecks. In this area, Sotacarbo, together with ENEA, is developing a range of activities on its pilot plants to test CO2 absorption and regeneration technologies.
The declared objective of these experimental campaigns is to test the system behaviour and assess the CO2 capture performance, to check the operability of all the pilot-scale components, and to improve knowledge about CO2 capture operations in the different phases (start-up, run and shut-down).
Several tests have been conducted. Firstly, a 5M monoethanolamine MEA (30% w.) test to identify all aspects of the process and gain experience; and, subsequently, other types of amines and solvents were tested.
A refurbishment of the regeneration control and monitoring system is planned, in particular in reference to regeneration duty and thermal losses caused by poor insulation. New experimental tests on different types of solvent and different feed gas will be performed. Finally, further efforts will focus on the automation of the process needed for long duration tests. Future developments include the design of a new flash section for physical solvents.