Carbon dioxide solubility and mass transfer in aqueous amines for carbon capture

Date

2015-08

Authors

Li, Ph. D., Le

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Abstract

Amine scrubbing is the state of the art technology for CO2 capture, and solvent selection can significantly reduce the capital and energy cost of the process. This work presents rigorous CO2 mass transfer and solubility data at expected process conditions for more than 20 aqueous amines and amino acid salts.
Amino acid salts are generally not competitive with aqueous amines as solvents for CO2 capture, particularly from coal fired power plants. The capacity of amino acid salts is intrinsically low (0.2 – 0.35 mol/mol alkalinity).
Piperazine (PZ) blends have good overall performance. 3.5 m PZ/3.5 m 2-amino-2-hydroxymethyl-propane-1,3-diol (Tris) shows good absorption rates, good capacity, and low solvent viscosity. 6 m PZ/2 m hexamethylenediamine (HMDA) has moderate absorption rates, capacity, and a high viscosity.
High solvent viscosity has been shown to reduce CO2 absorption rate and increase sensible heat cost. A simplified speciation model (SSM) was developed in MATLAB to represent CO2 VLE in a mono-amine solvent using only four adjustable parameters. The model can also predict liquid phase speciation. Primary and secondary amines were shown to have different CO2 VLE dependence on amine pKa. At pKa higher than 8, secondary amines have lower carbamate stability than primary amines. A correlation was developed to predict the SSM parameters based on the amine type and amine pKa. The third order overall reaction kinetic expression better explains the mass transfer data at process conditions than the more widely applied second order overall expression. A new Bronsted correlation was developed to represent the third order concentration based kinetic constant at 40 °C for primary and secondary amines: 〖log〗10 (〖k(c-3)〗^* )=-11.728+1.113∙p〖K_a〗_amine. This work shows the absorption rate of CO2 at process conditions do not always increase with amine pKa. As the reaction rate constant increases with amine pKa, the free amine available for CO2 absorption decreases. As the result, for primary and secondary mono-amines, the optimum amine pKa for the best mass transfer performance is around 8.7 (at 40 °C).

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