The enzymatic technology enhances rather than replaces existing post-combustion solvent processes for carbon capture. The technology platform is designed around the use of a packed column absorber/desorber process well known to the gas scrubbing industry and permits the use of existing absorber packing materials and other core components. Low-energy solvents are kinetically accelerated by the enzyme to operate efficiently within this known technology architecture. The result is that the enzyme technology builds on conventional approaches, providing a retrofitable solution towards commercial deployment.
CO2 Solutions' enzymatic technology is a more cost-effective option for large-scale carbon capture from power plants and other large sources of CO2. By allowing the industrial use of energy-efficient amines, carbonates and amino acids, process regeneration energy and parasitic plant load are substantially reduced. For instance, by using MDEA accelerated by the enzyme technology, process energy can be reduced by 30% or more, savings of $50-70 million in annual costs for a typical coal-fired power plant.
The use of carbonic anhydrase has several environmental advantages over conventional solvent technologies. It allows the use of solvents such as tertiary amines, carbonates and amino acids, which are less corrosive, less volatile and overall less toxic. For instance, MDEA is significantly less toxic than MEA as the recommended maximum exposure over time is 10 times greater.
Relative Toxicity of Industrial Amines
Additionally, compared to piperazine, a chemical promoter sometimes used to accelerate CO2 absorption, the enzyme does not increase emissions of toxic nitrosamines which form when certain amines come into contact with nitrogen oxides in industrial effluent gases.
The bottom line is that CO2 Solutions' enzyme-based system is the commercially and environmentally viable option.
1Preliminary study by Norwegian Institute of Public Health