Integrated Process of CO2 Capture and Conversion to Chemicals: Technology Opportunities and Challenges

C. Panchal, K. Goyal, R. Doctor
E3Tec Service LLC,
United States

Keywords: alkyl carbonates, CO2 utilization, integrated process


As per the EIA 2020 report, fossil energy will continue to play a critical role in power generation until 2050. Furthermore, steam-methane reforming (SMR) based hydrogen production using renewable natural gas (RNG) is expected to expand for carbon-free transportation. Therefore, transformative CO2 capture and utilization technology is required to achieve the 2050 target of CO2 emissions. New generation of CO2-capture and utilization technologies that are being separately developed by federally funded projects would show market-driven adoption, if CO2 were used to manufacture value-added products competitively. Dimethyl Carbonate (DMC), one such product, has an expanding world market: a) for polycarbonate production; b) as electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries; c) as intermediate in polyurethane production; and d) as environmentally friendly solvent replacing ketone-based solvents. DMC also is being evaluated as an additive to reduce emissions from diesel engines. Integrating the process of CO2 capture and conversion to high-value chemical products should significantly enhance both the economics as well as energy efficiency when compared to separate processes for CO2 capture followed by conversion. E3Tec is actively pursuing an integrated process of CO2 capture and utilization to manufacture high-value alkyl carbonates with DOE SBIR Phase II sequential grant. In this technology the conversion of CO2 to alkyl carbonate process is integrated with new generation of CO2 capture technology, such as membrane separations; solid adsorbents; non-aqueous solvents; a new generation of amine solvents; and hybrid processes. The technology challenges and opportunities of integrating the CO2 conversion process with the new generation of CO2 capture technologies are discussed with the focus on different membrane separations and solid adsorbents. The ASPEN PlusĀ® analysis of the integrated process is based on prototype testing and reported performance of the CO2 capture processes. The integrated process of CO2 capture and conversion to other chemicals is evaluated. The technology assessment focuses on technical challenges and opportunities based on the risk assessment matrix (RAM) analysis.