SSN College of Engineering Develops Next-Gen Carbon-rich Solvent Regeneration Technique to Reduce the CO2 Capture Process Energy Demand in Fossil Fuel Power Plants

Chennai: SSN College of Engineering, today announced a breakthrough solution in the global battle to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants through a Solvent-Based Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Process (PCCC). Dr. Ambedkar Balraj, Associate Professor, Carbon Capture Lab, SSN College of Engineering along with his team, have developed a carbon-rich solvent regeneration technique that is cost-effective, consumes less energy for the solvent regeneration process and is viable for commercialization.

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology has been globally recognized for its potential in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by capturing them before they enter into the atmosphere Chemical absorption is a widely used and promising technology for CO2 capture from flue-gas (the combustion exhaust gas produced at power plants). While the technique is easily integrated with any existing coal-fired power plant, given the capital investment required along with the high running and maintenance costs, the technology finds limited use globally. Also, during solvent regeneration, a major portion of the energy is spent for high-temperature and high-pressure CO2 stripping, leading to increased solvent loss and degradation.

The technique developed by SSN College of Engineering is a breakthrough for this new suite of technology as it allows for regeneration of carbon-rich solvent in temperatures as low as below 45oC as compared to conventional heating which requires heating at 110oC- 120oC. The technique uses mega-sonic assistance (1 MHz – tank-type) to regenerate the carbon capture solvent, thus eliminating the need for a reboiler and possibility of sensible-heat saving and reduced condenser duty (reducing input and maintenance costs). Furthermore, lab-scale results have revealed that the rate of heating is 33.8 times lower than the conventional direct heating method, facilitating minimum solvent loss and degradation. The technique is aimed at synergizing a balance between the capital cost and the energy demand and can be easily integrated with any existing fossil fuel-fired power plant.

Dr. Ambedkar Balraj, Associate Professor, Carbon Capture Lab, SSN College of Engineering, Chennai said, “Our novel carbon-rich solvent regeneration technique aims to reduce the regeneration energy requirements and costs while also increasing the durability of the solvent. Since this technique can be easily integrated into the existing coal-fired power plants, we are confident that post commercial scale-up, the technique will have the potential to contribute significantly to a sustainable and clean environment while helping to meet the increasing demand for energy globally.”

Ms Kala Vijayakumar, President, SSN Institutions said, “Climate Change has become a global issue, and as a socially responsible institution, SSN encourages innovative ideas and research that can contribute towards finding a solution to this problem. We are proud of this research work led by Dr Ambedkar which has the potential to play a significant role in stabilizing global warming. Given the potential of this research, we are delighted to say that it is being supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India and SSN has already initiated patent application procedure for the novel technique.”

According to Centre for Climate Change and Energy Solutions, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, have risen dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution. In 2018, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.7% to a historic high of 33.1 Gt CO2. Of this, Coal use in power alone surpassed 10 Gt CO2, mostly in Asia, led by India and China. The U.S. Energy Information Administration in its International Energy Outlook 2019 shared that world energy consumption is expected to rise by 50% by 2050 and all sources of energy will be required to fulfill this future energy demand. India alone is likely to witness a three-fold rise in energy demand. Therefore, a sharp focus on the development of carbon-capture technologies to control the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will contribute significantly to a sustainable clean environment.

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