Techno-economic study of the calcium looping process for CO2 capture from cement and biomass power plants
Ozcan, Dursun Can
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The first detailed systematic investigation of a cement plant with various carbon capture technologies has been performed. The calcium looping (Ca-looping) process has emerged as a leading option for this purpose, since this process applied to a cement plant provides an opportunity to use the CaO purge for clinker production. The Ca-looping process is comprised of two interconnected reactors where the carbonator captures CO2 from flue gases and the calciner regenerates the CaCO3 into CaO by oxy-combustion. Fully integrated process flowsheets have been developed and simulated in UniSim Design Suite from Honeywell. The detailed carbonator model has been implemented using Matlab and incorporated into UniSim to provide a full flowsheet simulation for an exemplary dry-feed cement plant as a user-defined operation. The base cement plant simulation was also modified to integrate three different carbon capture processes: membrane; indirect calcination; and amine-scrubbing. Furthermore, an advanced configuration of Ca-looping process has been investigated where the energy intensive air separation unit was replaced with a chemical looping combustion (CLC) cycle. Each case has been optimised to minimise its energy consumption and compared in terms of levelised cost of cement and its resulting cost of CO2 avoided at the same CO2 avoidance rate. The proposed integration of the Ca-looping process is capable of achieving over 90% CO2 avoidance with additional fuel consumption of 2.5 to 3.0 GJth/ton CO2 avoided. By using an advanced configuration of the Ca-looping process with a CLC cycle, the additional fuel consumption can be reduced to 1.7 GJth/ton CO2 avoided, but the cost of the oxygen carrier is the major concern for this system. Among the other CO2 capture options, the membrane process is a promising alternative for the Ca-looping process since it has a potential of achieving the target CO2 avoidance rate and purity requiring lower energy consumption. The indirect calcination process provides moderate levels of CO2 avoidance (up to 56%) without a need of an external capture process whereas the integration of the amine process in a cement plant is challenging as a result of the requirement of steam for solvent regeneration. Furthermore, considering zero net CO2 emissions associated with biomass combustion systems, a novel concept has been analysed to capture of CO2 in-situ with the Ca-looping process while operating the combustor of a dedicated biomass power plant at sufficiently low temperature. This process is capable of achieving 84% overall CO2 capture rate with an energy penalty of 5.2% when a proper heat exchanger network is designed with the support of a pinch analysis. The techno-economic performance of the biomass power plant with in-situ Ca-looping CO2 capture process was compared with that of the alternative biomass-air-fired and biomass-oxy-fired power plants.