Utilizing solar thermal energy for post-combustion CO2 capture
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Post-combustion amine absorption and stripping can remove 90% of the CO2 from power plant flue gas, but systems can reduce electrical output by approximately 30% due to energy requirements for stripping CO2 from solvent and CO2 compression. The CO2 capture energy penalty can be reduced while developing renewable energy technologies by meeting CO2 capture energy requirements with a solar thermal energy system, particularly when electricity demand and prices are the highest. This study presents an initial review of solar thermal technologies for supplying CO2 capture energy, with a focus on high temperature systems. Parabolic troughs and central receivers are technically able to provide energy for CO2 capture. However, the solar system’s capital costs would be roughly half that of the base coal-fired plant with CO2 capture, and high electricity prices are required to offset the costs of operating the solar thermal system. For high temperature solar thermal systems, direct electricity generation is likely a more efficient way to use solar energy to replace output lost to CO2 capture energy. However, low temperature solar thermal systems might integrate better with solvent stripping equipment, and more rigorous analysis is required to definitively assess the feasibility of using solar energy for CO2 capture.