PILOT TEST OF A NANOPOROUS, SUPER-HYDROPHOBIC MEMBRANE .

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FINAL TECHNICAL REPORTJanuary 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014Project Title: PILOT TEST OF A NANOPOROUS, SUPER-HYDROPHOBICMEMBRANE CONTACTOR PROCESS FOR POSTCOMBUSTION CO2 CAPTURE - PHASE 1ICCI Project Number:Principal Investigator:Project Manager:DEV14-1Shiguang Li, Gas Technology Institute (GTI)Debalina Dasgupta, ICCIABSTRACTThe hollow fiber membrane contactor (HFMC) process combines advantageous features ofboth absorption and membrane processes to provide a cost-effective solution for CO2capture from flue gases. In this process, CO2-containing flue gas passes through one side ofthe polyether ether ketone (PEEK) HFMC, while a CO2 selective solvent flows on the otherside. CO2 permeates through the hollow fiber membrane pores and is chemically absorbedinto the solvent. The CO2 rich solvent is regenerated in a second PEEK HFMC moduleoperated in a reverse manner. The current pilot scale test project is a continuation of thebench-scale technology development. Through Phase 1 study, substantial progress hasbeen made toward key milestones of the current 1 MWe pilot-scale (20 ton CO2/day)development of super-hydrophobic PEEK HFMC process for post-combustion CO2capture. Hitachi’s advanced solvent H3-1 was initially proposed as prime test solvent in thecurrent program. However, due to the lack of necessary fundamental data for H3-1 tocomplete the preliminary Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA), the prime test solvent hasbeen switched from H3-1 to activated methyldiethanolamine (aMDEA). The preliminaryEnvironmental, Health & Safety study (EH&S) and TEA based on the aMDEA solvent hasbeen completed. The estimated cost of CO2 capture for our HFMC technology is 49.35 /tonne of CO2 captured when using a mass transfer coefficient of 1.2 (sec)-1, obtainedfrom our bench-scale field testing.Bench-scale testing has been performed in support of the pilot-scale design effort.Single-gas permeation measurements for 2-inch diameter modules indicated that one of thecritical milestones for membrane development, target intrinsic CO2 permeance of1,700-2,000 GPU, has been achieved. A number of factors that may have had an effect onthe membrane contactor stability, specifically during start-up and shutdown cycles, havebeen investigated. With a new start-up/shutdown procedure, the CO2 capture performancefor a new module remained stable for at least 2 weeks.Another major accomplishment of the Phase 1 study is the design of an energy efficienttwo-stage flash solvent regeneration process for CO2 capture. Process simulation by AspenHYSYS suggested the new design could save as much as 20% of the overall compressionpower. The new design has been validated experimentally. A patent application based onthis design has been filed. Fabrication of 8-inch modules and design of the 1 MWe pilotplant are ongoing and will be completed by June 30, 2015.1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe Phase 1 program has the following 5 tasks: Task 1: Project managementTask 2: Preliminary TEA and EH&S studyTask 3: Determination of scaling parameters for 2,000 GPU hollow fibermembrane modulesTask 4: Bench-scale testing in support of the pilot-scale design effortTask 5: Design and costing of the 1MWe equivalent CO2 capture systemTask 1: Joint development agreements between GTI and team members have beensigned. In addition to day-to-day management of the project, we are holding weeklyteleconferencing meetings with project team members to discuss project activities andtechnical issues. A slight change in project direction was made by switching the primetest solvent from H3-1 to aMDEA due to the lack of fundamental data for H3-1 solvent.Task 2: The preliminary TEA was based on bench-scale field testing data with aMDEAsolvent completed in 2013 at the Midwest Generation’s Will County Station site where amass transfer coefficient of 1.2 (sec)-1 was obtained at 93% CO2 removal. In the currentpilot-scale program, the target mass transfer coefficient was 2.0 (sec)-1 at 90% CO2removal. The TEA compared the HFMC technology with DOE’s Cases 11 (without CO2capture) and 12 (use of amine plant for CO2 capture). The estimated cost of the HFMCtechnology in conjunction with aMDEA solvent is 49.35 /tonne of CO2 captured whenusing the mass transfer coefficient of 1.2 (sec)-1. A preliminary EH&S study has beencompleted, which includes the preliminary EH&S risk assessment involving design,engineering, construction, operation and testing of a 1 MWe hollow fiber gas liquidmembrane contactor-based post-combustion capture pilot plant incorporating PEEK-basedsuper hydrophobic nanoporous hollow fiber membrane contactor technology and aMDEAsolvent.Task 3: Under this task, PoroGen optimized their PEEK membranes and membranemodules for long-term CO2 capture operation. Membrane module factors that mightaffect long-term CO2 capture performance, such as O-rings, epoxy/fiber interface intubesheets, “wet out” of the hydrophobic surface in long-term operation, and modulestart-up/shutdown procedures, have been investigated. The target intrinsic CO2permeance of 1,700 to 2,000 GPU has been achieved in 2-inch diameter modules. Inaddition to the development of long-term operation, PoroGen continues its production oflarger inner-diameter hollow fibers for operation at a lower pressure drop. A lowerpressure drop for flow through the hollow fiber membrane directly translates into savingson operating costs. The PEEK fibers used in the field testing had an inner diameter of 13mi, pressure drop observed in these were 5 psi. The new fibers will have an innerdiameter of 20 mil and is expected to lower the gas side pressure drop to 18% of thatobtained for the old fibers. PoroGen is also scaling up the modules from 2-inch to 8-inchin diameter.2

Task 4: Membrane module factors that might affect contactor stability during start-up andshutdown cycles have been identified. With a new start-up/shutdown procedure, the CO2capture performance remained stable for at least 2 weeks for a new module. In addition totechnical progress on membrane absorption stability, significant progress was made onsolvent regeneration. A new process that uses one-stage of high-pressure flash followed byone-stage of low-pressure flash was designed for CO2 loaded rich solvent regeneration.Process simulation by Aspen HYSYS suggested the new design should save as much as20% of the overall compression power. The new design has been experimentally validated.A patent application based on this design has been filed.Task 5: Design and costing of the 1MWe equivalent CO2 capture system havecommenced. To date, process flow diagram and material balance based on thepreliminary TEA have been essentially completed. Adjustments have been made for twomonths of continuous operations at NCCC. Other progress includes: Equipment for integrated membrane absorption and desorption processes has beenidentified, Major process control loops have been formulated, Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) have been initiated, and Preliminary review for P&ID has been completed.Discussions with the host site National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) at Wilsonville, Alabout operating philosophy and duties for each party are ongoing.3

OBJECTIVESThe objectives for the Phase 1 of this pilot-scale development were to 1) developpreliminary Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) and Environmental, Health & Safetystudy (EH&S) based on bench-scale test data, 2) determine scaling parameters forcommercial hollow fiber membrane modules with 2,000 GPU measuring 8-inch diameterby 60-inch long, and 3) design a HFMC pilot system for flue gas CO2 capture at 1 MWeequivalent scale (20 ton CO2/day).INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUNDThe membrane contactor technology is a hybrid membrane/absorption process that takesadvantages of both the compact nature of the membrane process and the high selectivityof the absorption process. Conventional membrane process operates by asolution/diffusion mechanism and the separation driving force is provided by the partialpressure difference of each component across the membrane. This process requires eitherflue gas compression, permeate sweep, application of permeate side vacuum, orcombination of these steps to provide the separation driving force required. Elaborateprocess design and optimization becomes a prerequisite for conventional membraneprocesses in CO2 capture from flue gases [1]. The main limitation of conventionalmembrane processes is the process pressure ratio (feed gas pressure/permeate gaspressure). The available CO2 pressure ratio in a coal powered flue gas is only about 3 andis limited by economies of compression or vacuum level. The concentration of theproduct CO2 is consequently limited to about 32%. Thus, when the membrane separationprocess is pressure ratio limited and is unaffected by the membrane selectivity since it isalready much larger than the pressure ratio, the product CO2 concentration will be limited.This thermodynamic limitation cannot be overcome by further increases in membraneselectivity. Hence not possible to generate greater than 32% pure CO2 product from fluegases in one stage using the conventional membrane process.The hybrid membrane/absorption process is not limited by the pressure ratio and 99%pure CO2 product can be generated in a single stage. The process selectivity approachesthousands and is determined by the chemical affinity of the absorption solvent to CO2.While the porous super-hydrophobic membrane can offer only limited selectivity for thegaseous species present in the flue gas stream, membrane selectivity is not required.The hollow fiber membrane utilized in the hybrid membrane absorption process alsoprovides a very high surface area/volume ratio for the separation to take place, whichresults in a mass transfer coefficient that is 5 to 10 times greater than achievable in aconventional tower or column with trays or packing. Therefore, the membrane contactormay be 50-70% smaller in volume than conventional equipment. This will enableinstallation at existing power plant sites where availability of space for carbon captureequipment can be limited.In a prior funded 3-year bench-scale development program, high CO2 capture level ( 90%removal) and high CO2 product purity ( 95%) had been demonstrated in compact hollow4

fiber membrane modules in a single-stage process configuration. Laboratory testsincluded absorption and desorption steps integrated into a continuous CO2 captureprocess utilizing 2-inch diameter bench-scale modules containing 10 to 20 ft2 ofmembrane area. The integrated process operation was stable through a 100-hour test,utilizing a simulated flue gas stream, with greater than 90% CO2 capture and 97% CO2product purity achieved throughout the test. The integrated absorption/desorption HFMCtechnology was demonstrated at a coal-fired power plant (Midwest Generation, WillCounty Station in Romeoville, IL) using 4-inch diameter modules with a membranesurface area of 164 ft2 per module. Results showed greater than 90% CO2 removal and 97%CO2 product purity with aMDEA solvent in the field. The mass transfer coefficient in theabsorption step was 1.2 (sec)-1, which is over an order of magnitude greater than that ofconventional column contactors. The CO2 capture performance in the field test was notaffected by flue gas contaminants SO2 and NOx.Under the current 4-year pilot-scale program consisting of four phases, this being the firstPhase, the PEEK HFMC technology is being scaled from the bench scale to a pilot scale.Overall objectives are: to build a 1 MWe equivalent pilot-scale CO2 capture (20 tonCO2/day) hollow fiber contactor system with commercially available aMDEA solvent,conduct field tests on actual flue gas at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC),perform a continuous, steady-state operation for a minimum of two months, and gatherdata necessary for process scale-up. The goal of this technology development project is tovalidate the potential to achieve DOE’s Carbon Capture performance goal of 90%, CO2capture rate with 95%, and CO2 purity at a cost of 40/tonne of CO2 captured.EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURESMembrane and Membrane Module FabricationThe porous PEEK hollow fibers as seen in Figure 1a, were manufactured by a hightemperature melt extrusion process [2]. Figure 1b shows a typical cross-section scanningelectron microscope (SEM) view of the fibers, which nominally have outside diametersof 0.4-0.7 mm and wall thicknesses of 0.07-0.12 mm.(a)(b)Figure 1. PEEK views: a) hollow fibers, and b) SEM cross-section view.5

The membrane in the membrane contactor operates in a non-wetting mode with the liquidside pressure below the breakthrough, to maintain independent gas and liquid flows. ThePEEK material itself is hydrophilic. Surface modification to make it hydrophobic iscritical for the HFMC technology.The super-hydrophobicity surface was generated by surface modification with afunctional perfluoro oligomer shown in Figure 2. Prior to grafting with the perfluorooligomer, the surface of the porous PEEK was functionalized with -OH groups byreacting ketone groups in the PEEK polymer backbone with monoethanolamine. Thefunctionalized porous PEEK was prepared in a single step Reactive Porogen Removalprocess during porous PEEK fiber preparation according to US Patent 7,176,273 [3].O NH2NOHOH(a)NNOHO RfORfOHHydrophobicHydrophilic(b)Figure 2. Membrane surface modification: (a) functionalization of porous PEEK with-OH groups, and (b) reaction to form hydrophobic surface.The super-hydrophobic hollow fibers were packaged into cartridges utilizing computercontrolled helical winding for a uniform structured packing. Overall flow configuration in6

the cartridge was counter-current to maximize the thermodynamic efficiency. Thecartridge was installed into a pressure housing and sealed with O-rings to form themembrane module. Figure 3 illustrates progression of manufacturing steps from powersto membrane module.Figure 3. Progression of manufacturing steps from powders to membrane module.Membrane Module CharacterizationPThe non-wetting characteristics of membrane modules were determined by pressurizing afeed liquid in the shell side of the module and observing collection of liquid in the tubeside, if any. Any liquid collected on the tube side would indicate a wet out of themembrane. The liquid used in these quality control tests was MDEA/water (50/50volume) solution. The wettability tests were extended to include longer term exposure tothe aqueous MDEA solution ( 100 hours) at higher temperatures (50-60oC). This wascomparable to flue gas conditions.PressuregaugeMembrane module in ovenFlow Checkmeter valveBackpressureregulatorGas to ventValve FilterPCO2 or N2PPressuregaugePressuregaugeFlow meterGas to ventFigure 4. Process diagram for membrane intrinsic permeance testing.The membrane intrinsic gas permeation property for CO2 was measured in a flow systemshown in Figure 4. CO2 was fed to the tube side of the module and flux measured usinggas flow meter. The pressure normalized flux, permeance, is denoted as follows:7

P J p(1) p Ptube Pshell(2)where J is the steady state flux through the membrane; p is pressure differentialbetween the tube and shell sides. The pressure drop was observed between inlet andoutlet of the tube side, and thus an average tube-side pressure was used for calculation inEquation 2.Membrane Contactor CO2 Capture TestingThe membrane modules were mounted on a membrane contactor skid for CO2 capturetesting, as shown in the process flow diagram in Figure 5. Mass flow controllers wereused to control feed gas composition from pure CO2 and N2 gases, which were in themolar ratio of 13:87 if not indicated otherwise. The mixed gas stream was heated by aflow-through heater and then sent to a bubbler filled with water to humidify the gas.Humidity measurements indicated that the stream after the knock-out vessel wassaturated with water at any given temperature. This stream was then directed to the tubeside of the module and the lean solvent was directed to the shell side of the module, asshown in Figure 5.Treated gas to ventCO2analyzer 2MembranemoduleFlow throughHeaterN2Knock-outvesselFilterCO2Flow throughHeaterWatercolumnCO2analyzer 1Rich solventLean solventFigure 5. Process diagram for bench-scale membrane contactor CO2 absorption testing.During tests, gas-side CO2 permeated through the membrane and was absorbed in the8

solvent. The CO2 concentrations of the simulated flue gas feed at the gas inlet andCO2-depleted gas residue at the outlet were measured by a CO2 analyzer and CO2 contentin the solvent was measured by titration. A 40 wt.% aMDEA/H2O was used as the solvent.An analytical procedure created in-house that involves using to measure CO2 content inamine-based solvent as low as 0.3 wt.% with high accuracy was used. For comparison withconventional contactors, volumetric mass transfer coefficient ( K G Av , (sec)-1) was used inthe current study and calculated as follows,KG Av KG Av(3)where K G the mass is transfer coefficient (m/s), and Av is the specific surface area pervolume of the membrane module.RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONTask 1. Project managementAgreements between GTI and team members, PoroGen and Trimetric, have been signed.During the course of process simulation, it was observed that proper simulation of theH3-1 solvent with process simulation software required additional validation of existingfundamental data with field data, potential need to collect fundamental data andvalidation of simulation predictions. This data was not readily provided by MitsubishiHitachi Power Systems Company, or other H3-1 users. Therefore, after consultation withdifferent funding agencies, it was decided that aMDEA would be used as a prime testsolvent and process simulation solvent for completing the preliminary TEA.Task 2. Preliminary techno-economic analysis and EH&S studyPreliminary techno-economic analysis (TEA)Preliminary TEA was based on prior bench-scale field testing completed at the MidwestGeneration’s Will County Station site (located in Romeoville, IL) in 2013 conducted usingaMDEA solvent. The flue gas composition measured on the upstream of the membraneabsorber is listed in Table 2. The measured relative humidity of the flue gas before theblower was 39% at 130 F.Table 2. Flue gas composition.ElementConcentrationCO29.58 vol.%NOx49.4 ppmvSO20.6 ppmvCO103.8 ppmvO210.88 vol.%Balance: N2 , water vapor and trace elementsMass transfer coefficient obtained during the field testing was 1.2 (sec)-1 at 93% CO2removal. This mass transfer coefficient is over one order of magnitude greater than those9

of conventional contactors with packed columns (0.0007 – 0.075 (sec)-1). The TEAestablishes a quantitative basis by which the HFMC carbon capture process may beevaluated and identifies key design parameters and process characteristics that impacttechno-economic performance and feasibility.The preliminary TEA used DOE’s Cases 11 (without capture) and 12 (benchmark amineplants) as comparison bases [4]. Table 3 shows the estimated cost of CO2 capture for theHFMC technology is 49.35 /tonne of CO2 captured when using a mass transfercoefficient of 1.2 (sec)-1.Table 3. Cost of electricity and cost of CO2 capture comparison.ItemMass transfer coefficientUnitCase 11Case 12GTI HFMC with aMDEAsolvent1.2(bench-scaletested)2.0 (target ofthe sec)-1COE - no TS&Mmills/kWhCOE - totalmills/kWhIncremental cost of CO2capture - No TS&Mmills/kWh56.346.241.2Increase in COE - NoTS&M%69.6%57.0%50.9%Increase in COE - total%81.9%69.4%63.2%/Cost of CO2 capture no TS&M /tonne56.4749.3544.0080.95Figure 6 shows cost of electricity for items including capital, fixed O&M, variable O&M,CO2 TS&M and fuel for various cases including DOE’s Cases 11 and 12, and the HFMCtechnology with the aMDEA solvent. Note that a methodology correction factor of 2.07was applied to capture system equipment except hollow fibers f

membrane contactor-based post-combustion capture pilot plant incorporating PEEK-based super hydrophobic nanoporous hollow fiber membrane contactor technology and aMDEA solvent. Task 3: Under this task, PoroGen optimized their PEEK membranes and membrane modules for long-term CO 2 capture operation. Membrane module factors that might

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