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A Physical Solvent Approach to Carbon Capture and its Applications for Blue Hydrogen

Hydrogen production and carbon capture are major stepping stones towards a decarbonised future and are expected to be key components of the world’s energy transition away from fossil fuels. New low-cost technologies are critical to advancing these efforts.  Bulk removal of CO2 is typically performed using an amine-based solvent such as MDEA (methyl-diethanolamine).  However, in many applications with high CO2 partial pressures and little to no H2S, a better option may be a physical solvent, such as propylene carbonate, as used in the Fluor SolventSM process. Propylene carbonate is a non-corrosive, non-toxic, and biodegradable solvent, capable of achieving equal levels of CO2 capture with an estimated 80% reduction in primary energy input compared to a conventional amine-based CO2 removal system.

This paper explores the use of propylene carbonate to capture CO2 from existing or new-build hydrogen production plants (SMR, ATR, or POX) and recovery of that CO2 for carbon sequestration or EOR to produce Blue Hydrogen.  In the example considered in this paper, the carbon capture unit is located downstream of the water-gas shift reactors in an ATR plant and upstream of a conventional PSA unit.  The captured CO2 stream will have sufficient CO2 purity for sequestration or other industrial uses.  This paper presents CO2 capture levels, captured CO2 purity, total utilities consumption and other key aspects of the process to provide a comparison between propylene carbonate and a conventional amine-based CO2 removal system.

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