|The Grangemouth refinery complex. Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Serge Bertasius Photography|
Scientists from the Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) research partnership have competitively won a 70% share of a £4 million fund for vital research into technology to support UK industry’s efforts to reduce CO₂ emissions.
Researchers from SCCS will lead three out of four projects being funded by EPSRC’s Research Challenges in Industrial CCS fund, and will work closely with industry partners on developing flexible and cost-effective CO₂ capture technologies.
The partnership is well placed to lead the field in research into industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS). For several years, it has stressed the importance of tackling industry’s CO₂ emissions as part of climate action, and has a track record of research, knowledge exchange and workshops developed with the needs of industry, academia and policymakers in mind.
The projects have secured £2.8m from the EPSRC call and include:
Versatile adsorption processes for the capture of carbon dioxide from industrial sources – FlexICCS (£1.1m project)
Principal Investigator: Prof Stefano Brandani, University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering
This project team comprises scientists exclusively from the SCCS partnership. The project will be led by the University of Edinburgh, with researchers from the University of St Andrews alongside industry partners Air Products and Chemicals, INEOS, Lotte Chemical, Diageo, Howden Group Technology and Tees Valley Unlimited. The project is also supported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
The team will explore adsorption-based CO₂ capture, developing new materials tailored to various processes found in industry. The aim is to produce two or three options that can be adjusted easily for different applications, thereby reducing overall costs by mass production of the units rather than developing ad hoc solutions for each system.
John Baker, senior technologist at Lotte Chemical, said:
Understanding how CCS technologies are evolving and how costs will come down will determine when industry adopts and implements the technology.
Prof Stefano Brandani said:
Emissions from power plants represent only one third of overall carbon emissions and developing solutions for industrial emissions is a key requirement if we are to meet the challenge of achieving 80% reductions in emissions by 2050.
A compact CO₂ capture process to combat industrial emissions (£1.2m project)
Principal Investigator: Dr Xianfeng Fan, University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering
This project, led by the University of Edinburgh, is a collaboration of scientists from the university with Newcastle University, the University of Hull and industry partners Global Technology/SK innovation, Ferrite Microwave Technologies, Tan Delta Microwaves Ltd, Carbon Clean Solutions Ltd and the UK-China (Guangdong) CCUS Centre.
The team will focus on issues surrounding amine solvents for CO₂ capture, such as process efficiency, the size of equipment required and high capital and operating costs. The researchers aim to meet these challenges by combining two technologies – rotating packed bed absorption and microwave-assisted regeneration – which will enable small and flexible capture devices to be installed at a wide range of industrial sites.
Dr Xianfeng Fan said:
CO₂ emissions from industry are typically from a number of small, low concentration sources with a wide range of flue gas compositions and impurity profiles. That means it’s useful to have several compact and flexible capture units, with low operating and capital costs and high efficiency. Our work will combine two technologies that will enable such devices to be installed at a wide range of industrial sites.
EPSRC’s funding is part of the RCUK Energy Programme, which provides support for emerging energy technologies, including CCS. The technology’s deployment within the industrial sector is widely recognised as being the only pathway to significant – and essential – reductions in CO₂ emissions from industries such as steel, cement and fertiliser.