In-situ experimental investigation on the growth of aerosols along the absorption column in post combustion carbon capture

Shreyas Harsha, Purvil Khakharia*, Arjen Huizinga, Juliana Monteiro, Earl Goetheer, Thijs J.H. Vlugt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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The amine-based post combustion carbon capture process is one of the most advanced and preferred technologies to reduce CO2 emissions from point sources like power plants. The emissions of amine from capture plants is one of the biggest challenges faced by this technology. These emissions typically occur by means of aerosol/mist formation. To develop effective countermeasures, it is crucial to understand the dynamic behavior of aerosols within the column, which is currently not well understood. This manuscript presents the results from a study aiming to understand the mechanism of aerosol growth and its behavior along the absorber column in terms of particles number concentration, particle size distribution, and amine emissions. For that, a series of experiments were performed in TNO's bench scale CO2 capture plant using 30 wt% monoethnolamine (MEA) as solvent. For a SO3 and CO2 concentrations of 5.25 ppm and 12.5 vol.% in the flue gas, MEA emissions at the top exit of the column were recorded as 1051 mg/Nm3 (with vapour emissions of 381 mg/Nm3). In the absence of SO3 in the flue gas, inlet particle concentration was 2.71 × 107/cm3 and resulting MEA emissions reduced by 63.5%–383 mg/Nm3. From the bottom of the column until the point of maximum temperature, the MEA content in the vapour phase was consistent with the volatility of the solvent. After this point it drastically increases to 1051 mg/Nm3. Both the number of particles and the total particle mass has lowered from the bottom to the top of the column. For the benchmark test, inlet and outlet total particle concentration were found to be 6.24 × 107/cm3 and 2.3 × 107/cm3 respectively, while total particle mass is 2.22 mg/m3 at inlet and 1.32 mg/m3 at outlet. Particles with a dimeter below 0.006 μm contribute the most to total particle concentration both at the inlet (50%) and outlet (32%), while particles with diameter of 0.087 μm contributes the most to the total particle mass at inlet (47%) and outlet (55%). The measured total mass of particles was in the order of magnitude of 1 mg/m3. This is much lower than the expected aerosol mass emissions, in the order of magnitude of 1 g/Nm3 based on FTIR emissions. No particles larger than 0.147 μm were recorded, which might explain the low total mass recorded. The cause for this is still under investigation, but it suggests that the sampling procedure may induce systematic errors to the measurements. Nonetheless, the observations from this study have given further insight into the aerosol dynamics in the absorber column and corresponding emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-99
Number of pages14
JournalInternational journal of greenhouse gas control
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Absorber profile
  • Aerosol growth
  • CO capture
  • ELPI


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