CO2 Capture and Regeneration at Low Temperatures

Research Triangle Institute (RTI)
Novel Non-Aqueous CO2 Solvents and Capture Process with Substantially Reduced Energy Penalties
Graphic of RTI's technology
ARPA-E Award: 
Durham, NC
Project Term: 
07/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Coal-fired power plants provide nearly 50% of all electricity in the U.S. While coal is a cheap and abundant natural resource, its continued use contributes to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. Capturing and storing this CO2 would reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas levels while allowing power plants to continue using inexpensive coal. Carbon capture and storage represents a significant cost to power plants that must retrofit their existing facilities to accommodate new technologies. Reducing these costs is the primary objective of the IMPACCT program.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
RTI is developing a solvent and process that could significantly reduce the temperature associated with regenerating solvent and CO2 captured from the exhaust gas of coal-fired power plants. Traditional CO2 removal processes using water-based solvents require significant amount of steam from power plants in order to regenerate the solvent so it can be reused after each reaction. RTI's solvents can be better at absorbing CO2 than many water-based solvents, and are regenerated at lower temperatures using less steam. Thus, industrial heat that is normally too cool to re-use can be deployed for regeneration, rather than using high-value steam. This saves the power plant money, which results in increased cost savings for consumers.
Impact Summary: 
If successful, RTI's non-water-based CO2 solvents would substantially reduce the cost of carbon capture to coal-fired power plants. This will limit the costs that are passed onto consumers and limit the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Enabling continued use of domestic coal for electricity generation will preserve the stability of the electric grid.
Carbon capture technology could prevent more than 800 million tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere each year.
Improving the cost-effectiveness of carbon capture methods will minimize added costs to homeowners and businesses using electricity generated by coal-fired power plants for the foreseeable future.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Ping Liu
Project Contact: 
Dr. Luke Coleman
BASF Corporation