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Comment Environment, Health, Safety & Security

A fast way to recover CO2

By Gerald Parkinson |

A rapid pressure-swing-adsorption (rPSA) system to separate carbon dioxide from fluegas is being developed by W.R. Grace & Co. (Columbus, Md.; www.grace.com) and three partners under a $3 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE; Washington, D.C.; www.energy.gov). The goal is to develop a process that costs half as much as current amine systems, whose cost is $50–70 per ton of CO2 captured, says Rob Harding, Grace’s director of global R&D for materials and packaging technology. Grace is developing a multiple-bed rPSA system that cycles in 1–30 s, or more than 10 times the speed of conventional PSA, says Harding. CO2, approximately 10–12% of the fluegas, will be adsorbed by one unit while another is desorbing. The CO2 output gas stream will be >95% CO2. The high cycle rate promises to reduce the size and cost of the equipment to a small fraction of that of conventional PSA units, he says. One challenge is to develop an adsorbent tailored for rapid cycling. Grace is working with zeolite materials, such as 13X and 5A, says Harding. Another challenge is to develop equipment that has high-speed valves. “Existing valves can be operated at that speed,” he says, “but we need more…
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