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Capturing Carbon with Carbo-Lock™ Hollow Fiber Contactor Technology

GTI and Air Liquide Advanced Separations are developing a versatile hollow fiber membrane contactor (HFMC) technology for pre- and post-combustion carbon capture in power generation. The Carbo-Lock™ HFMC technology utilizes either physical or chemical solvents to capture CO2 with the hollow fiber contactor as a phase boundary between the gas and liquid, dramatically improving process economics for all absorption systems. Carbo-Lock technology has met specific gas separation performance targets in laboratory-, bench- and slipstream-scale tests for pre-combustion carbon capture from syngas, post-combustion CO2 capture from flue gas, and acid gas removal from natural gas.

The technology offers significant economic advantages with much smaller size and lower cost than conventional options used to sweeten natural gas through removal of CO2 and H2S. It enables gas processing for floating LNG platforms and vessels where stringent gas quality is combined with compact configurations. It can also be used in natural gas pipeline applications, and is suitable for stranded gas locations, permafrost environment, or construction in remote areas.

The HFMC module has been scaled to commercial size. GTI’s technical goals for mass transfer coefficient, CO2 capture rate, and CO2 purity were achieved in single module lab testing using commercially available solvents.

Slipstream testing at Midwest Generation’s Will County Station, a coal-fired power plant in Romeoville, IL, showed a mass transfer coefficient over one order of magnitude greater than that of conventional gas/liquid contacting equipment. Similar results were obtained during bench-scale testing of simulated Natural Gas Combined Cycle power plant flue gas.

Under a U.S. DOE project, GTI designed, installed, and commissioned HFMC at a 0.5-MWe (10 tonne CO2/day) scale on a coal-derived flue gas stream at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Wilsonville, AL. Steady state performance has been achieved at NCCC for a single module with aMDEA solvent during 224-h continuous testing.

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