There is a need to significantly reduce the cost of CCS and capture costs are often the highest component in the CCS chain. CO2CRC is researching cost-effective capture technologies that can be applied to electricity generation as well as producing gas fields or liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities. CO2CRC is also investigating capture options for other high CO2-emitting industry sectors such as iron and steel production and chemical manufacturing.
Improving CO2 separation technologies
The aim of this work is to develop new capture technologies and improve existing capture technologies to provide significant cost reductions in CO2 capture. These technologies will be trialled at CO2CRC facilities scaled for a range of applications including power and non-power applications.
Reducing energy requirements and costs of CO2 capture
CO2CRC aims to identify ways of integrating carbon capture plants into power stations and industrial processes in order to minimise additional energy requirements and lower costs. It will assess system integration of capture technologies along with development of new products to bring down the cost.
An important part of the strategy adopted by CO2CRC is to ensure that it has a balanced portfolio and that it does not duplicate work that is already underway.
Development and operation of capture research facilities and related technologies
The aims of this project are to develop, operate and maintain CO2CRC's world-class capture facilities and nurture novel capture opportunities in early stages of development.
CO2CRC aims to develop new capture technologies and make improvements to existing capture technologies in order to provide significant cost reductions in CO2 capture compared to the current estimates. These technologies will be demonstrated at scale for a range of industrial applications.
CO2CRC's existing capture facilities at Melbourne University, Monash University, Mulgrave and Hazelwood form a unique multi-scale, multi-technology, multi-site capture R&D capability. CO2CRC will build on the investment of the initial phase of the Centre in order to take innovation and R&D towards commercialisation.
Solvents systems remain the industry benchmark. CO2CRC will investigate the operating conditions of pre- and post-combustion systems with the aim of reducing energy usage using carbonate- and amine-based systems. However, solvent-based capture systems also have applications to all fuel sources and we will expand our investigations to other fields, including natural gas and industrial applications. The research includes developing cheaper construction materials, developing promoters to improve capture characteristics and using membranes in conjunction with solvents.
Relative to absorption or adsorption technologies, membrane technology can be considered a ‘new’ technology that is undergoing major growth and has the potential to provide significant capture cost reductions. CO2CRC has worked on understanding the impacts of impurities on membrane processes, fabricating integrally skinned hollow fibre membranes and the effects of plasticisation.
The next stage of our research will evaluate the cost and practical performance of membrane systems in post and pre-combustion applications, investigate the potential for the application of new materials to natural gas systems and develop new membrane materials.
CO2CRC will also develop and apply new materials and adsorbent processes and demonstrate the applicability of these technologies.
CO2CRC has developed processes and materials for CO2 capture from post-combustion and, more recently, pre-combustion gas streams. These technologies are currently being tested in the field at the H3 and Mulgrave capture projects. Research will include improved zeolitic adsorbents, next generation adsorbents (MOFs and related porous materials), adsorbents that are optimized for Vacuum Swing Adsorption (VSA) processing, high temperature CO2 capture using metal oxides, improved VSA processes, pre-combustion CO2 capture and the capture of CO2 from natural gas using PSA technology.
The aims of the project are to develop and apply new cryogenic and hydrate removal processes in order to reduce the cost of CO2 separation from a range of industrial applications, particularly pre-combustion capture and oxyfuels in the first instance and then potentially in other industries such as the cement and steel industry, and to demonstrate the applicability of these technologies. Initial laboratory trials have been completed. Further laboratory and design work is progressing with a view to take these to pilot scale.
Engineering development/Process Integration for CO2 capture
The translation of CO2CRC IP from research concept through to large scale commercial application is critical and has constituted a basis for the capture activities over many years seeking to drive down capture costs. CO2CRC aims to provide the integrating activities between research and practical engineering application for large scale plant and to incorporate engineering aspects to the reduction of costs of capture, particularly heat and energy integration and equipment issues.