German chemical colossus Basf and The Linde Group, one of the leading gases and engineering companies in the world, successfully completed a joint pilot project to improve capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gas at a coal fired power plant at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC). The NCCC is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research facility managed and operated by Southern Company, in Wilsonville, Alabama. Since January 2015, the project operated a pilot plant under a cooperative agreement with DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Based on the successful completion, Basf and Linde will begin larger-scale testing and explore commercial opportunities.
The technology used during the pilot project integrates Basf’s advanced aqueous amine-based solvent and process technology, marketed by Basf under the Oase® blue brand, with novel CO2-capture process and engineering innovations developed by Linde. Parametric and long-duration testing confirm the main performance targets set for the facility. Specifically, it captured more than 90 percent CO2 from the flue gas while the purity of the CO2 was more than 99.9 percent. The design capacity of the operation was up to 1.5 Megawatt-electric (MWe) and required less than 2.8 gigajoules of regeneration steam per metric ton of CO2. The NCCC includes a post-combustion carbon capture facility that allows testing and integration of advanced technologies using actual coal-derived flue gas from an 880-MW pulverized coal unit at Alabama Power’s Plant in Gaston. The pilot plant has operated at the facility for more than 1,200 hours at a higher regeneration pressure of 3.4 bar absolute, thereby demonstrating a cost advantage over other amine-based technologies.
“The amine-based Oase blue technology offers significant benefits for CO2 capture as it aims to reduce the regeneration energy requirements using novel solvents,” said Andreas Northemann, Vice President of Basf’s Oase Gas Treating Excellence. “Long-term pilot testing demonstrated the solvents’ performance and stability. Basf’s almost 50 years of experience in industrial gas treating, combined with the expertise of Linde in large-scale engineering, procurement and construction, will lead us to the commercial scale-up of Oase blue technology.”
The pilot plant at the National Carbon Capture Center leveraged the earlier experience that Linde and Basf jointly gained in a similar project in Germany. Together with Basf and Germany’s power plant operator Rwe, Linde also installed a pilot plant for carbon capture in Niederaussem, Germany, in 2009. As part of this cooperation, Basf developed it’s highly energy efficient technology to capture CO2 from flue gas.
“Linde – said Christian Bruch, Member of the Executive Board of The Linde Group – is pleased to partner with Basf on the Wilsonville project. It allows us to combine our experience in the Niederaussem project with our decades of large plant engineering experience and process integration capabilities to reduce the capital cost when built at scale. The result should prove that CO2 capture is economically feasible, substantially reducing emissions and their negative impact on climate.”