MATESA - Advanced Materials and Electric Swing Adsorption Process for CO2 Capture

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the technological solutions to decarbonize the energy market while providing secure energy supply. In CCS, carbon dioxide is removed from different flue gas streams, transported and stored in secure geological formations. So far, the cost of CCS is dominated by the cost of the CO2 capture process, reason why new capture techniques should be developed.

Adsorption techniques have already been evaluated for post-combustion CO2 capture. So far, the main drawbacks of this technique are the energetic demand to regenerate the adsorbent and obtain high purity CO2. It has been shown that the overall energy penalty of processes like Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and Temperature Swing Adsorption (TSA) will be similar or larger than using available solvent-based technology. However, the utilization of commercially available materials was employed in the former evaluations. New materials with targeted properties to capture CO2 from flue gases can significantly improve the performance of adsorption processes. Moreover, it has been shown that TSA processes can have better energetic performance, if the processes take the benefit of using available low-grade heat.

The vision of MATESA is to develop a new-generation high-efficiency capture process based on selective adsorption of CO2 on hybrid honeycomb monoliths. This innovative process is termed as Electric Swing Adsorption (ESA). In ESA, the adsorbent regeneration is done by passing electricity through the adsorbent releasing adsorbed CO2 that can be recovered at high purity. The predicted energy savings of the developed process may transform this CO2 capture process in a key component to make CCS commercially feasible in fossil fuel power plants going into operation after 2020.

In order to realize a "proof of concept" of the ESA process, a strong component of the project will deal with the development of a hybrid material that is able to selectively adsorb CO2, conduct electricity, result in a low pressure drop and have reduced environmental impact. The development of such a material is important for MATESA and will also have a significant impact to increase the energy efficiency of other relevant gas separation processes. 

In MATESA, two world-leading companies will join efforts with universities and R&D institutes to develop an advanced hybrid honeycomb adsorbent material to be used in an integrated CO2 capture process in a power plant. The carbon fingerprint of the new-generation process will be used as an optimization tool and will be tackled by an innovative SME with intensive experience in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

Published September 20, 2013