Calcium Oxide based Carbon Capture in District Energy Systems

University essay from KTH/Kemiteknik

Abstract: Global carbon emissions are higher than ever before and in the last decade of 21st century, focus has shifted on reducing these emissions in various ways possible. Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) has been identified as one of the important ways to reduce carbon emissions and meet climate targets. For a long time, Sweden has promoted the use of biomass as fuel for heat and power generation which has enabled it to meet its climate targets earlier than projected. Now, major Swedish energy companies are looking into coupling exiting biomass fired heat and power plants with CCUS. This opens up the possibility of attaining negative emissions, also known as Bio Energy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). With the right policy framework in place, BECCS can be a major boon and help Sweden attaining net zero carbon emissions. As a contribution in meeting net zero targets, this thesis is aimed to evaluate the installation of a carbon capture plant to abate flue gas emissions from District heating facility in Jordbro which is a ~70 MW (fuel) CHP plant running on biomass.  Among the available carbon capture technologies, Calcium oxide-based carbon capture has been expected to show great promise due to its lower environmental impacts and possibility to extract high quality energy when installed. Hence a concept system for integration calcium looping at Jordbro has been developed through the use of modeling tools like ASPEN. A techno economic assessment was needed to be performed to give conclusive results on the overall viability of the process. Further, key process indicators like energy penalty, plant footprint and cost of capture per tonne of CO2 were identified for making the final evaluation. Finally, through a strategic collaboration with SaltX, major process improvements were introduced and applied to the modeled process.  It was concluded that with the current average flowrates at Jordbro it was possible to capture 154,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The required amount of energy input to the calciner is 48MW (7.29 MW/kg-CO2 captured) which is one of the major findings of this study. Even though a significant amount of heat is recovered, the main boiler is not capable of producing heat over 900 οC and additional biomass needs to be combusted, leading to an additional CO2 emission of about 125 000 tonnes annually. Considering an optimal integration, the energy penalties became 6.25 %.  However, the plant footprint increased substantially due to requirement for burning additional biomass in the regeneration reactor and addition of several auxiliary units that come along with calcium-based carbon capture. Further, the total capital investment for this project is 1,219 MSEK with reactor costs being most capital intensive. Assuming a plant life of 25 years, the cost of capture per tonne of CO2 (excluding the costs for carbon transport and storage) was evaluated at 988 SEK, which is 58% higher than the reference Mono-ethanol amine based chemical absorption case. The innovative improvements from SaltX substantially reduced the plant footprint but capture costs did not reduce since material transport costs proved to be the major bottleneck.  Upon comparison of this technology with the amine-based technology it was found that Calcium oxide-based carbon capture would need further research and improvements to be more viable than amine-based carbon capture. Integration of thermal energy storage and process intensification can be the possible paths for further improvement.

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