Analysis of process configurations for CO2 capture by precipitating amino acid solvents

Eva Sanchez-Fernandez*, Katarzyna Heffernan, Leen V. van der Ham, Marco J. G. Linders, D. W. F. Brilman, Earl L. V. Goetheer, Thijs J. H. Vlugt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Precipitating amino acid solvents are an alternative to conventional amine scrubbing for CO2 capture from flue gas. Process operation with these solvents leads to the formation of precipitates during absorption that need to be re-dissolved prior to desorption of CO2. The process configuration is crucial for the successful application of these solvents. Different process configurations have been analyzed in this work, including a full analysis of the baseline operating conditions (based on potassium taurate), the addition of lean vapor compression, multiple absorber feeds, and the use of different amino acids as alternative solvents to the baseline based on potassium taurate. The analysis is carried out with an equilibrium model of the process that approximates the thermodynamics of the solvents considered. The results show that the precipitating amino acid solvents can reduce the reboiler duty needed to regenerate the solvent with respect to a conventional MEA process. However, this reduction is accompanied by an expenditure in lower grade energy needed to dissolve the precipitates. To successfully implement these processes into power plants, an internal recycle of the rich stream is necessary. This configuration, known as DECAB Plus, can lower the overall energy use of the capture process, which includes the energy needed to regenerate the solvent, the energy needed to dissolve the precipitates, and the energy needed to compress the CO2 to 110 bar. With respect to the energy efficiency, the DECAB Plus with lean vapor compression configuration is the best configuration based on potassium taurate, which reduces the reboiler duty for regeneration by 45% with respect to conventional MEA. Retrofitting this process into a coal fired power plant will result in overall energy savings of 15% with respect to the conventional MEA process, including compression of the CO2 stream to 110 bar. Potassium alanate was found to reduce the energy use with respect to potassium taurate under similar process configurations. Therefore, the investigation of potassium alanate in a DECAB Plus configuration is highly recommended, since it can reduce the energy requirements of the best process configuration based on potassium taurate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2348-2361
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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