W.R. Grace & Company (Grace) has teamed with the University of South Carolina, Battelle Memorial Institute, and Catacel Corporation to develop a unique rapid pressure swing adsorption (PSA) process for cost-effective post-combustion CO2 capture from coal-fired power plants. Pressure swing adsorption is a favorable process for CO2 capture as adsorption and desorption are achieved with electrical energy rather than with the extraction of steam from the power plant’s steam cycle. Based on promising results from a previously developed proprietary PSA cycle configuration, the new rapid PSA cycle is capable of achieving over 90 percent CO2 recovery and over 95 percent CO2 purity using commercial zeolite pellets. The project team will develop a rapid version of the proprietary PSA process, taking advantage of a much shorter cycle time of 30 seconds as compared to 300 seconds for a conventional PSA cycle. This will increase the feed throughput by a factor of 10 or more, concomitantly decreasing the column size by an order of magnitude or more. The rapid PSA process could significantly reduce both the capital costs and plant footprint, while also reducing the operating costs. The project goal is to develop and test a cost-effective rapid PSA process that incorporates an attrition-resistant, low-pressure-drop structured adsorbent that is compatible with the high velocities associated with rapid PSA operation, and an optimized rapid PSA cycle configuration. Testing at bench scale will be conducted with simulated flue gas to validate CO2 capture performance.
Bench-scale development of the unique rapid PSA technology will confirm its capability to cost-effectively capture CO2 from coal-fired flue gas. The rapid PSA process incorporates a structured adsorbent with low-pressure drop, high mass-transfer rates, high capacity, and high availability that will enable large feed throughputs, reducing operating costs. This technology holds promise to achieve the DOE goals of capturing at least 90 percent of the CO2 with less than a 35 percent increase in the cost of electricity when scaled to a 550 megawatt coal-fired power plant.
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