Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations globally are a world-wide concern. Here, we focus on the development of innovative technologies to reduce the emission of CO2 from large industrial point sources and reduces the costs associated with CO2 capture.
An example of our work includes the development of phase change solvents. Phase change solvents have been gaining momentum in CO2 absorption due to the large CO2 absorption capacity and relatively low regeneration energy requirement. This work investigates different ways to induce CO2-rich solvent phase separation via temperature swing or through addition of various anti-solvents. Research activities include the evaluation of the thermodynamic properties of solvent systems, the evaluation of precipitating kinetics and process model development. A typical example in this project is the use of amino acid promoted concentrated potassium carbonate solvent. For this novel solvent system, an electrolyte non-random two liquid (ENRTL) thermodynamic model is regressed through Data Regression System (DRS) in Aspen Plus®. The precipitation kinetics of the solvent system including primary nucleation, secondary nucleation and crystal growth is comprehensively studied in a batch cooling crystallizer using a Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM®) probe, and precipitating kinetic models are developed using MATLAB. Moreover, a process model using the novel solvent is developed in Aspen Custom Modeller to enable large scale system design. We are also interested in developing novel catalytic absorbents to increase CO2 absorption efficiency and reduce regeneration energy, which has great potential to be employed as a new generation of CO2 absorbents.