Within the global warming issue the reduction of CO2 emissions is key. Current human activities lead to an annual emission (and addition) of around 6 Gton fossil carbon into the atmosphere. In the energy-transition phase, towards a society where energy and fuels are based on renewables, the reduction of fossil-CO2 emissions by CO2 capture and re-use/storage can play an important role. When CO2 capture is combined with biomass-based processes even negative fossil-CO2 emissions can be achieved. In the end phase, third-generation biofuels, based on the photosynthesis of CO2 and water into biomass, will contribute significantly as feedstock for fuels and products.
Within TCCB the reduction of fossil-CO2 emissions is promoted by the following research activities:
- Conversion technologies for CO2-neutral energy and -fuels from biomass
- CO2 capture technologies for removal from flue gas and other process streams
- CO2 storage (temporarily) and re-use, e.g. for biomass growth (algae, plants,…) or e.g. for on-board CO2 capture on ships/trucks/…
Current CO2 capture techniques, mainly alkanol-amine absorption processes, are energy- and capital intensive. Hence, there is a continuous search for better CO2 absorption solvents and – capture technology.
On solvent development: promising candidates are e.g. aqueous solutions of amino-acid salts, due to their high reactivity, oxidative stability, ionic nature (no vapor pressure), higher CO2 loading and, most importantly, the relative low energy requirements for regeneration. Interestingly, within this class of amino acid salt solutions, both precipitating and non-precipitating CO2 absorption systems are found. The research comprises solvent screening (on capture- and regeneration characteristics), investigation of the fundamentals of mass transfer, chemical reaction kinetics and -equilibria in these systems as well as process- and contactor development to utilize the opportunities provided by the solvent systems.
In addition to these gas-liquid(-solid) systems, alternative capture processes based on new zeolite-based adsorbents are currently being evaluated for further investigation.
The CO2 related research projects are executed in close cooperation with industry and other (Dutch and European) research institutes.