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Techno-Economic Assessment of Polymer Membrane Systems for Postcombustion Carbon Capture at Coal-Fired Power Plants

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posted on 19.03.2013 by Haibo Zhai, Edward S. Rubin
This study investigates the feasibility of polymer membrane systems for postcombustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture at coal-fired power plants. Using newly developed performance and cost models, our analysis shows that membrane systems configured with multiple stages or steps are capable of meeting capture targets of 90% CO2 removal efficiency and 95+% product purity. A combined driving force design using both compressors and vacuum pumps is most effective for reducing the cost of CO2 avoided. Further reductions in the overall system energy penalty and cost can be obtained by recycling a portion of CO2 via a two-stage, two-step membrane configuration with air sweep to increase the CO2 partial pressure of feed flue gas. For a typical plant with carbon capture and storage, this yielded a 15% lower cost per metric ton of CO2 avoided compared to a plant using a current amine-based capture system. A series of parametric analyses also is undertaken to identify paths for enhancing the viability of membrane-based capture technology.

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