Cryogenic Carbon Capture™ (CCC) Status Report

The Cryogenic Carbon Capture™ (CCC) process separates CO2 from light gases in essentially any continuous process. CCC cools the gases to the frost or desublimation point of CO2 (−100 to −135 °C), separates and pressurizes the solids, and warms all streams to produce a CO2-depleted stream at ambient pressure and a pure (99+%) pressurized liquid CO2 stream typically to about 150 bar, both at ambient temperature. The process also recovers all gas moisture and most gas impurities less volatile than CO2 (NOx, SOx, Hg, PM, UHC, CCC, etc.) in separable streams. CCC nearly eliminates refrigeration energy for sensible temperature changes through heat integration. CCC does require energy to change the CO2 phase from a mixed vapor to a pressurized fluid, which represents the minimum energy required of any process for this separation. CCC uses additional energy for turbomachinery inefficiencies, heat losses, moisture removal and overall process pressure drop. Aside from these real-world energy demands, CCC operates near the minimum energy required to perform this gas separation by minimizing stream recycling. CCC compresses CO2 as a liquid, which is one of several reasons it costs about about half as much and consumes about half as much energy as an amine process when using flue gases with about 15% CO2. The process also has several major additional advantages, including (a) it is a bolt-on retrofit technology that does not need steam or any modification of existing equipment, (b) it recovers water and nearly all pollutants in addition to CO2 from the flue gas, (c) it enables highly efficient and cost effective energy storage at grid scale and on time scales of minutes, (d) it enables NG storage if the energy storage option is used, and (d) it has a small footprint and is minimally disruptive to existing plants, requiring only electrical power and a gas source to operate. Sustainable Energy Solutions (SES) has scaled this technology through several levels, the largest of which captures nominally 1 tonne of CO2/day and is called the skid system. Skid system field tests include utility-scale power plants, cement plants, heating plants, and other utility or industrial sites that burn natural gas, biomass, coal, shredded tires, municipal waste, and combinations of these fuels. These field tests produced 95-99% CO2 capture with CO2 purities of 99+% and initial CO2 contents that range from 4 to 28%. SES currently seeks to scale the system to merchant scale (10-80 tonnes of CO2 per day). In the process of doing so, SES has demonstrated the potential for CCC to contribute to energy storage and direct air capture in innovative and cost-effective ways.

Baxter, L., Hoeger, C., Stitt, K., Burt, S., & Baxter, A. (2021). Cryogenic Carbon Capture™ (CCC) Status Report. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3819906

This material is based upon work supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-AR0000101 and by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-FE0000847. Additional support was provided by the Advanced Conversion Technologies Task Force in Wyoming, the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) in Alberta, Canada, Rocky Mountain Power (PacifiCorp), and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

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