Cheaper carbon capture is on the way

PNNL-developed solvent breaks barriers, captures carbon for less than industrial counterparts


Research News


RICHLAND, Wash.–As part of a marathon research effort to lower the cost of carbon capture, chemists have now demonstrated a method to seize carbon dioxide (CO2) that reduces costs by 19 percent compared to current commercial technology. The new technology requires 17 percent less energy to accomplish the same task as its commercial counterparts, surpassing barriers that have kept other forms of carbon capture from widespread industrial use. And it can be easily applied in existing capture systems.

In a study published in the March 2021 edition of International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory–along with collaborators from Fluor Corp. and the Electric Power Research Institute–describe properties of the solvent, known as EEMPA, that allow it to sidestep the energetically expensive demands incurred by traditional solvents.

“EEMPA has some promising qualities,” said chemical engineer Yuan Jiang, lead author of the study. “It can capture carbon dioxide without high water content, so it’s water-lean, and it’s much less viscous than other water-lean solvents.”

Carbon capture methods are diverse. They range from aqueous amines–the water-rich solvents that run through today’s commercially available capture units, which Jiang used as an industrial comparison–to energy-efficient membranes that filter CO2 from flue gas emitted by power plants.

Current atmospheric CO2 levels have soared higher in recent years than at any point within the last 800,000 years, as a new record high of 409.8 parts per million was struck in 2019. CO2 is primarily released through human activities like fossil fuel combustion, and today’s atmospheric concentrations exceed pre-industrial levels by 47 percent.

At a cost of $400-$500 million per unit, commercial technology can capture carbon at roughly $58.30 per metric ton of CO2, according to a DOE analysis. EEMPA, according to Jiang’s study, can absorb CO2 from power plant flue gas and later release it as pure CO2 for as little as $47.10 per metric ton, offering an additional technology option for power plant operators to capture their CO2.

Jiang’s study described seven processes that power plants can adopt when using EEMPA, ranging from simple setups similar to those described in 1930s technology, to multi-stage configurations of greater complexity. Jiang modeled the energy and material costs to run such processes in a 550-megawatt coal power plant, finding that each method coalesces near the $47.10 per metric ton mark.

Solving a solvent’s problems

One of the first known patents for solvent-based carbon capture technology cropped up in 1930, filed by Robert Bottoms.

“I kid you not,” said green chemist David Heldebrant, coauthor of the new study. “Ninety-one years ago, Bottoms used almost the same process design and chemistry to address what we now know as a 21st century problem.”

The chemical process for extracting CO2 from post-combustion gas remains largely unchanged: water-rich amines mix with flue gas, absorb CO2 and are later stripped of the gas, which is then compressed and stored. But aqueous amines have limitations. Because they’re water-rich, they must be boiled at high temperatures to remove CO2 and then cooled before they can be reused, driving costs upward.

“We wanted to hit it from the other side and ask, why are we not using 21st century chemistry for this?” Heldebrant said. So, in 2009, he and his colleagues began designing water-lean solvents as an alternative. The first few solvents were too viscous to be usable.

“‘Look,'” he recalled industry partners saying, “‘your solvent is freezing and turning into glass. We can’t work with this.’ So, we said, OK. Challenge accepted.”

Over the next decade, the PNNL team refined the solvent’s chemistry with the explicit aim to overcome the “viscosity barrier.” The key, it turned out, was to use molecules that aligned in a way that promoted internal hydrogen bonding, leaving fewer hydrogen atoms to interact with neighboring molecules.

Heldebrant draws a comparison to children running through a ball pit: if two kids hold each other’s hands while passing through, they move slowly. But if they hold their own hands instead, they pass as two smaller, faster-moving objects. Internal hydrogen bonding also leaves fewer hydrogen atoms to interact with overall, akin to removing balls from the pit.

Pivoting to plastic

Where the team’s solvent was once viscous like honey, it now flowed like water from the kettle. EEMPA is 99 percent less viscous than PNNL’s previous water-lean formulations, now nearly on par with commercial solvents, allowing them to be utilized in existing infrastructure, which is largely built from steel. Pivoting to plastic in place of steel, the team found, can further reduce equipment costs.

Steel is expensive to produce, costly to ship and tends to corrode over time in contact with solvents. At one tenth the weight, substituting plastic for steel can drive the overall cost down another $5 per metric ton, according to a study led by Jiang in 2019.

Pairing with plastic offers another advantage to EEMPA, whose reactive surface area is boosted in plastic systems. Because traditional aqueous amines can’t “wet” plastic as well (think of water beading on Teflon), this advantage is unique to the new solvent.

The PNNL team plans to produce 4,000 gallons of EEMPA in 2022 to analyze at a 0.5-megawatt scale inside testing facilities at the National Carbon Capture Center in Shelby County, Alabama, in a project led by the Electric Power Research Institute in partnership with Research Triangle Institute International. They will continue testing at increasing scales and further refine the solvent’s chemistry, with the aim to reach the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of deploying commercially available technology that can capture CO2 at a cost of $30 per metric ton by 2035.


This study, “Techno-economic comparison of various process configurations for post-combustion carbon capture using a single-component water-lean solvent,” was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit PNNL’s News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

From EurekAlert!

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March 11, 2021 10:06 pm


Reply to  Bevan Dockery
March 11, 2021 10:28 pm

Seems like the solution to a different problem: the problem of “how to clean up this flue gas”. The process yields “clean gas” (whatever that may be) and CO2. I don’t see how the process captures any C02. It just results in two separate output streams. The design of a process to actually capture the CO2 is left as an exercise to whoever comes next.

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe they had been sucking on the public teat for so long (over a decade, the article says) that they felt they just had to publish something and hope no-one noticed the lack of actual “carbon capture”. That could have been particularly embarrassing if the grant money specified “carbon capture” not just “CO2 separation”

If I have misunderstood the value of what this process does, then I unreservedly apologise, and hope someone can explain it to me

Reply to  OldCynic
March 11, 2021 11:58 pm

I seem to remember them mentioning something about compressing the CO2 and storing it. I am not going to read through that again just to make sure… It already robbed me of five minutes of life. I refuse to use mental power on guessing where they will store this, at what price, and the encironmental destruction around their storage locations.

Reply to  paranoid goy
March 12, 2021 5:07 am

I refuse to use mental power on guessing where they will store this, at what price, and the encironmental destruction around their storage locations.”

Lots of truth here. Per Jurassic Park, if it is stored under pressure, anywhere, CO2 find a way [to re-enter the atmosphere]. The most likely storage “solution”, underground, almost always produces corrosive carbonic acid. Hell on wellbore tubulars, whether they are special service or not. So, we would see it again, as we do in EVERY oilfield CO2 flood.

It’s a play for public $, and an industry head fake from the only real solution – source reduction.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 5:09 am

Or the alternative solution just emit more CO2.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 6:43 am

Since 1972 over 175 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) have been injected into the SACROC oil field to enhance oil recovery (EOR). About half of the CO2 has been co-produced with oil and recycled (separated from the oil and re-injected for further EOR). The remaining volume is assumed to be sequestered at 6,000 to 7,000 ft below surface. For this reason, and because SACROC oilfield has the longest history of CO2 injection of any oilfield in the Permian Basin, the site is an excellent natural laboratory for studying subsurface storage of carbon dioxide.

SACROC field experiments are being conducted on two scales. On a regional scale, research is focused on potential impacts to the shallow subsurface zones. GCCC and NMT researchers have sampled water wells as deep as 500 ft and measured CO2 soil zone concentrations within an ~800 mi2 area.

Deep subsurface experiments are centered on an experimental site that is roughly 0.4 square miles in area with CO2 ;injection wells located at each corner and an oil production well in the center. All of these EOR wells are 6,000 to 7,000 feet in depth. Three observation wells are located within several hundred feet of CO2 injection wells. Researchers from BEG, DOE NETL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and the University of Pittsburgh are attempting to monitor movement of CO2 in the deep subsurface using geophysical techniques. Geophysics data were collected before and after CO2 injection that began in October 2008.


Our field-based study of shallow (<500 ft) groundwater overlying and within an ~1,000 mi2 area of SACROC shows no impacts to drinking water quality as a result of over 35 years of deep subsurface (6,000-7,000 ft) CO2 injection. Modeling of stable carbon isotopes (d13C) of injectate CO2 gas, DIC in shallow and deep groundwater, carbonate mineral matrix, and soil zone CO2 suggests that no significant injectate CO2 has been introduced to the shallow groundwater.

Monitoring groundwater resources over CO2 geologic sequestration (GS) sites is needed to protect potable water supplies and insure that CO2 is adequately sequestered with respect to the biosphere. For these reasons it is good to study worst-case-scenarios where CO2 might be directly released into drinking water, as is currently taking place at other NETL Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (RCSP) project sites. However, the value of the SACROC groundwater study lies in the long history of CO2 injection in an oilfield with thousands of active and abandoned wells. According to our industrial partner, Kinder Morgan (KM), over 175 million metric tons of CO2, primarily from a natural source in Colorado, were injected at SACROC for EOR between 1972 and 2010. The fact that the quality of shallow drinking water over SACROC has not been impacted by CO2 injection is strong evidence that it is possible to safely sequester CO2 in deep subsurface reservoirs.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 7:13 am

Glad to hear about the SACROC study. The SACROC field leakage experience is described in 6.4 of the linked DOE study, and corroborates your link. Unfortunately, it was the successful outlier in the group studied by the DOE.

Bigger pic, to limit the A in AGW, we need to reduce it’s rate of anthropogenic atmospheric increase, at least total cost. I have not searched for info on integrated B-A economic studies about the best method of doing so, but they must be out there. IMO, given the volumes/masses mostly likely available from practical candidates, the best method, by far, would be source reduction. But I am certainly persuadable otherwise.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 7:35 am

More fundamental still. I would like to limit the increase in atmospheric [CO2]. You don’t. Since I am winning the argument above ground, the question is the best way to do so. Me and Milton Friedman would like to impose a carbon tax – with no tobacco tax honeypotting, fully, equally rebated to every US citizen, every month – high enough to do so. We’re all about letting the magic of the marketplace show us the best way to achieve this functionally universal goal…

Last edited 1 month ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 8:30 am

If you think I oppose limiting the increase in atmospheric CO2, you need to learn how to read.

Furthermore, Milton Friedman never endorsed a carbon tax.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 8:32 am

Oh… A carbon tax would just be a more economically destructive way to fund CCS than with tax credits.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 8:59 am

Why do you hate markets so much? Since this article says nothing about economic destruction, please expand…

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:07 am

The economic destruction of a carbon tax vs a tax credit for CCS.

Both are economically destructive because they interfere in the market. The tax credit is less destructive because it because it doesn’t take resources directly out of the private sector.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 10:31 am

Opposing a new tax means you oppose markets?
Will you ever argue honestly?

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 11:32 am

Free markets are good,

FAKE markets held together with HUGE SUBSIDIES and MANDATES, (like wind and solar)..

are the absolute OPPOSITE of a free market.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 2:06 pm

New! Improved! Less painful than a pointy stick in the eye! Woot!

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 8:52 am

My mistake. Great, we’re on the same page.

“Furthermore, Milton Friedman never endorsed a carbon tax.”

Which is why I never said he did. Rather, I am honoring his general trust in markets to suss out the best solutions. Of course he was rankly hypocritical in his choice of what regulations he opposed. If he had his way, there would be no recourse when your old, single halfshaft Corvair rolled over on you. Those liability laws are just too burdensome….

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:17 am

“Me and Milton Friedman would like to impose a carbon tax”

“Which is why I never said he did.”

So, you are saying that Milton actually wanted to impose a carbon tax, but he never got around to saying it outright?

And based on that logic, you are honest and not a weasel?

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:32 am

I doubt we’re on the same page. I have some concerns about CO2 concentrations above 800 ppm and I support economically sustainable ways to restrain emissions sufficiently to hold it below 600 ppm by the end of this century.

The claim that Friedman would support a carbon tax is based on his belief that there was a free market case for taxing pollution. CO2 is not classified as a pollutant.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 2:13 pm

You said, “Me and Milton Friedman would like to impose a carbon tax.” What moebius hoops, what Jesuit tricks are you planning to employ to make that not be the same as “Milton Friedman endorses a carbon tax?” Oh, I see. You’re going to use a red herring: Ooh, that nasty Corvair. You’ve given yourself away.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 8:42 am

And, if you believe that the carbon tax would be rebated in the form of carbon dividends, you should be looking into oceanfront property in Arizona.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 8:58 am

Wut? This is sense free…

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:35 am

The Schultz-Baker carbon tax would ostensibly tax CO2 emissions and then rebate 100% of the taxes collected equally to the American people.

Anyone who believes that the US government would rebate any of the taxes equally is living in fantasyland.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:09 am

“We’re all about letting the magic of the marketplace show us…”

We & us … You got some rats in your pocket?

Or are you on of ’em in the pocket of someone else?

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:15 am

BIGBoob is just another hypocritical pseudo “environmentalist”. Do as I say, not as I do. Yesterday, he was telling us how he tows his trailer 10s of thousands of miles with his diesel truck. I think that’s actually a good thing, but you can’t do that and then credibly claim that you really want to see CO2 emissions decline. Just like John Kerry, who falsely claims an impending climate catastrophe and then takes his private jet instead of flying commercially.

It’s really about the leftward leaning (but actually regressive) tax hike. Take money from the people and when, surprise, the poor suffers the most claim to be the white knight and give a small portion of what you robbed from everyone back to the poor. They’ll be indebted to the left because without the left’s handouts they won’t be able to pay their exorbitant energy bills.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 9:50 am

BOB, you need to pester Gaia about CO2.
She’s making 97% of the “problem”

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 8:25 am

That report primarily deals with mitigating the risks of leakage.

From page 19 of the DOE report:

EOR falls under Class II, where the states generally have regulatory primacy and less monitoring is required.

SACROC and other EOR projects have a “long history of fairly safe operations.”

From page 104:

Despite over 40 years of operating CO2 EOR projects, substantial CO2 leakage events have rarely been reported. [36] There have been no specific CO2 monitoring and tracking requirements until recently (like Subparts RR and UU [220]) and, thus, no official mechanism for reporting leaks. In addition, little information is available on project post-closure status and CO2 behavior in the subsurface post-injection. Therefore, unlike underground natural gas storage wells, there is not an extensive list of case studies for major leakage from CO2 EOR wells. The following subsections discuss several studies in which researchers were actively looking for CO2 leakage from CO2 EOR projects.

They provide a few examples, mostly related to improperly P&A’ed old wells.

CCS, permanent disposal, falls under Class VI, which requires more monitoring and financial responsibility. It also has a higher 45Q value. The economics of CCS at $50/ton are often much better than EOR at $35/ton. This is where most of the carbon storage efforts are currently focused.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 13, 2021 3:23 am

“They provide a few examples, mostly related to improperly P&A’ed old wells.”

Could it be that this is from the fact that there is “no official mechanism for reporting leaks. In addition, little information is available on project post-closure status and CO2 behavior in the subsurface post-injection.”?

And FMI, pase provide me examples of candidates that don’t have these “improperly P&A’d” wells. These, quite often can not then be “properly” P&A’d. One of the main reasons E&P companies employ engineering technicians is to keep up with the myriad wells in vintage (and not so vintage) fields that must be “monitored” in one way or another, sometimes for decades.

IMO, CCS at scale will not compete with source reduction for carbon tax $. The field candidates will, by definition, decline in quality as more of them are chosen. And the number of projects required to make anything like a fraction of the impact available from source reduction, makes it impractical. It’s benefits are that it can provide a time consuming industry head fake from real solutions, and can be publicly funded.

But the larger point is that I’m glad to let it compete openly for carbon tax $, along with other methods. I still don’t understand why you would eschew a free market solution in favor of government subsidizing your industry via tax credits for a (IMO) less economic solution. It certainly follows the industry solution of trying (largely successfully) to communize it’s external costs onto the rest of us, but you’re better that that – right?

Last edited 1 month ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 13, 2021 3:47 am

You are correct about the old wells problem, particularly onshore and in state waters, where there are a lot more old, improperly documented or undocumented wells. However, this is more of a problem with EOR than CCS.

CCS injection wells in a depleted reservoir are sited down-dip away from the old producers. The CO2 forms a plume around the injection site, moving up-dip and eventually going into solution in the brine, some eventually precipitates out as carbonate salts. Since the reservoir is depleted, the pressure is drawn down, increasing the storage volume.

In virgin pressure saline aquifers, old wells aren’t the problem, pressure build-up is… But there’s a lot of running room.

The focus right now is offshore, where there are no issues with contaminating fresh water aquifers and no NIMBY’ism. We’ve done some “back-of-the-envelope” economics and offhore CCS can be marginally economic at $50/ton… At $120/ton, it’s like $6/mcf gas.

A carbon tax would directly increase the cost to consumers of gasoline, diesel, electricity and natural gas. Financial incentives for CCS wouldn’t, and might actually reduce costs to consumers.

Regarding suitable pore space, there’s about 100 years of industrial emissions worth just in Texas state waters. CCS could easily achieve “net zero” from point sources of CO2.

The regulatory in state waters is still in its infancy and it doesn’t appear that BSEE has even started thinking about it… But the industry is already on this.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 13, 2021 4:10 am

If your engineering estimates are correct, and CCS is actually more economic than source reduction, then I’m for it. But the argument that implementing it top down, instead of making it win an open market competition, is wrong.

Both your top down directive, and my open market plan would increase costs. But your true statement that “a carbon tax would directly increase the cost to consumers of gasoline, electricity, and natural gas” is exactly why me and Milton (currently lecturing the Imaginary Guy In The Sky) are for it. Price signals, properly informed by costs and benefits, are how markets work.

Given the fact that much of western Europe has specific emissions footprints much smaller than ours, and that they still beat us out on almost every measure of systemic equality, health, opportunity for lifetime advancement, and the other measures that define “happiness”, I’m not worried about life quality deterioration from pricing gas, diesel, natural gas at closer to their actual cost of production. But I’m happy to assuage any transitory distress to those not ready for it with some of those corporate welfare $ you are now advocating for.

Last edited 1 month ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 13, 2021 7:11 am

Apart from establishing a market for GHG emissions reduction, it is an “open market” and there’s nothing top-down about it. Withoutt government interference, there is no market for GHG emissions reduction.

There’s nothing truly open market about either method of reducing GHG emissions. However government puts a price on carbon, fossil fuels + CCS beats everything apart from nuclear power.

Europe pretty well sucks at everything apart from meaningless UN-style metrics.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 6:44 am

What is the optimum level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere?

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
March 12, 2021 7:31 am

The money question is what is an acceptable man made rise RATE. Less than current….

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 7:51 am

Since CO2 has little to no impact on climate, why would the rate of it’s change matter?

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 8:16 am

Lol…you are funny

Reply to  Derg
March 12, 2021 1:07 pm

Typical Bob, when he’s losing an argument, change the argument.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 11:37 am

“an acceptable man made rise RATE. Less than current….”

Brain-wash ignorance is the greasy blob only asset. !

More atmospheric CO2 is better for ALL LIFE ON EARTH

Greasy blob HATES all life on Earth, especially himself.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 1:31 pm

Still no coherent answer…

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 7:18 pm

Man’s contribution to or influence on natural fluctuations is undetectable. It is only according to calculations that some say we contribute at all. The evidence is clear in the last 14 months that there is no change in concentration – up down or sideways – directly attributable to fossil fuel emissions, whether less or more.

The claims for an increase based on calculations are not closer to observed increases than a factor of two. It will certainly be strange if the anthropogenic emissions fall to zero and the rate continues to rise according to the natural temperature change that took place 800 years ago. That is the usual delay between temperature and concentration.

And missing from the “forever increasing” scenario is the fact that if we continued to increase our burning of fossil fuels at the present rate of increase, and doubled the entire world’s known or presumed resource base, we could never get the concentration above ~550 ppm. There simply isn’t enough of it available. Talk of 800 is laughable and not based on any version of real materials.

Absorption into the biosphere increases with an increase in concentration. It already absorbs half (as far as we calculate). There is no way to reach 800 even changing nothing. The temperature difference created at 800 ppm is the same as moving from New York City to New Jersey.

Big fat hairy deal.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
March 13, 2021 3:05 am

“Man’s contribution to or influence on natural fluctuations is undetectable. It is only according to calculations that some say we contribute at all.”

Yes, it is “by calculations”, that we know that this is not true. That does not negate or detract from the reality of it.

“The evidence is clear in the last 14 months that there is no change in concentration – up down or sideways – directly attributable to fossil fuel emissions, whether less or more.”

This is not based in fact. In fact, the evidence is clear that the change would not have been statistically distinguishable in any case, given the range of estimates of the drop, and the clarity of our [CO2] measurement.

The rest of your commenting is fact free gobbledygook, which is allowed here.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
March 12, 2021 9:02 am

Greenhouse experience indicates 1000-1500 ppm for plants in general, tho plant-species reactions vary.

Reply to  beng135
March 13, 2021 3:06 am

“Greenhouse”. As in, not the case for almost all of our food, fiber, and livestock production.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 7:50 am

Since CO2 is entirely beneficial, why should reduce it’s production?

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 12, 2021 8:15 am

Why reduction?

CO2 is life giving

Reply to  OldCynic
March 15, 2021 6:39 pm

You can buy space in empty British North Sea used up oil wells.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Bevan Dockery
March 12, 2021 1:31 am

Exactly. Trees and plants will sequester the CO2 in their own time, and me and you don’t need to be involved at all, because we’ll just add costs unnecessarily.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Mickey Reno
March 12, 2021 7:08 am

Trees and plants, hah!
If you want to talk about sequestering you must speak of the mighty foraminifera and coccolithophores that are responsible for a large part of our calcareous rocks! In fact, they’re so good at it we need to start thinking about methods of INCREASING CO2 levels for the survival of life on Earth!

Reply to  Abolition Man
March 12, 2021 7:41 am

If the earth goes into a cooling trend which is very probable and the growing season is reduced than higher levels of atmospheric co2 may in fact be needed to counter the lost agricultural production.

Co2 is plant food not a pollutant and beneficial to humanity.

Reply to  Abolition Man
March 12, 2021 9:06 am

True. Fewer & fewer volcanic eruptions emitting CO2 suggest the next great extinction event could be CO2 starvation.

Last edited 1 month ago by beng135
Reply to  Mickey Reno
March 12, 2021 7:52 am

In addition, trees and plants produce useful products in the process of sequestering CO2.

Reply to  Bevan Dockery
March 12, 2021 6:45 am

Why bother? To drive up the cost of living of course.

Higher cost of living slows economic growth and burdens capitalism. It also creates higher unemployment and makes people more dependent on government. This makes the Left very happy .

Reply to  Bevan Dockery
March 12, 2021 7:49 am

There are a number of industrial uses for CO2.
If this method is cheaper than other methods of producing CO2, it might be worthwhile.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
March 12, 2021 9:53 am

But the question is whether the industrial users would be willing to pay almost $50/ton, plus transportation charges, to replace their current sources. If it is cheaper, then it makes economic sense. To adopt it solely for purposes of virtue signaling is a disservice to their stock holders.

March 11, 2021 10:10 pm

If only all this scientific effort and research could be directed something of any use, we would all be much better off.

dodgy geezer
March 11, 2021 10:13 pm

I remember the occasion when a speaker asked an audience of green activists whether, if a magic wand existed which would enable the continuation of our technological way of life without causing club are change, they would be happy to wave it.

They were not.

Carbon capture will not be allowed to develop if it will enable coal or gas fired power stations to function. The aim of greenery is to suppress technology, not enable it.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  dodgy geezer
March 11, 2021 10:23 pm

the aim is to destroy capitalism full stop, they have already achieved that with their post modern crony capitalism.
These lockdowns which will now become a staple every flu season are to k ill off all small and medium sized businesses and the job will be complete, what other reason is Gates buying up all the farm land in the worlds bread basket for if not to concentrate the worlds food supply into one mega company.
Amazon will be the main retailer etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gary Ashe
Reply to  Gary Ashe
March 12, 2021 7:53 am

As someone else said, don’t use the enemy’s terminology.
There is no such thing as crony capitalism. Taking money from those who work and giving it to the friends and family of politicians is a form of socialism.

Reply to  dodgy geezer
March 11, 2021 10:23 pm

The [double-edged] scalpel… cannibalize her profitable parts, sequester her carbon pollutants. They wave the “magic wand” several hundred thousand times annually in America alone.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  dodgy geezer
March 11, 2021 10:44 pm

James Hansen’s original environmental activism came from the destruction West Virginia’s hills (see for example John Denver’s song about West Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains and Peabody coal trains and destroyed streams) mountaintop removal coal mining. The climate scam became the club to stop coal and mountain top removal and the overburden filled into the hollows and valleys between the hills. So CCS may seem like a path to clean coal, but the Green Marxists will find ways to object to CCS.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 12, 2021 5:52 am

The John Prine song, “Paradise,” became a standard for environmentalists and blue grass bands; but his song “Spanish Pipedream,” might be an anthem for many of the readers and commenters here!
He was a great songwriter who may have been an early victim of the ChiCom-19 virus! Or not!

Last edited 1 month ago by Abolition Man
Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  Abolition Man
March 12, 2021 1:38 pm

Huge fan here. Many +1s

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 12, 2021 6:58 am

Now we can just happily chop down all those trees, pelletize them, and ship them to the UK to be burned as poor-quality fuel.

Gary Ashe
March 11, 2021 10:15 pm

I wonder what all the plastic is going to be made of.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Gary Ashe
March 12, 2021 2:28 am

Exactly what I was thinking. So much in modern life is made from fossil fuels and that fact seems to escape the majority of snowflakes demonstrating against their use, while waving their mobile phones, dressed in “plastic” clothing, and wearing “plastic” shoes.

Reply to  Gary Ashe
March 12, 2021 3:11 am

all the foul gmo maize

Gary Ashe
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 12, 2021 4:47 am

Nah, it will be millions of recycled face masks.

Just as soon as they can get them out of the oceans.

Reply to  Gary Ashe
March 12, 2021 10:52 am

Unicorn farts, Gary. You need to keep at the back, there.

John Pickens
March 11, 2021 10:25 pm

Three problems.
1. CO2 is NOT primarily produced by human activities, as stated in the article.

2. This study extrapolates from a model to a real world cost. It’s good that they are pursuing a demonstration test, but meeting model results usually fails.

3. EEMPA, the key acronym in the article, is not defined. WTF is it?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  John Pickens
March 12, 2021 4:55 am

water-lean amine-based solvent, namely N-(2-ethoxyethyl)-3-morpholinopropan-1-amine (2-EEMPA)


Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 12, 2021 5:19 am

Thanks. Here’s a previous presentation. It seems like good engineering at least.

Steve Z
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 12, 2021 11:45 am

From the name, this compound seems to have a molecular weight of about 216. The most commonly used amine for desulfurization (methyl diethanolamine, or MDEA) has a molecular weight of 119. If the stoichiometry of reaction with CO2 is similar, then the circulation rate of EEMPA (on a mass basis) would have to be nearly twice as much as for MDEA.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Steve Z
March 13, 2021 2:39 pm

The hoped-for gain in efficiency is in how much heat is required to regenerate the lean solvent. However, steam to heat the stripper may cost less than electricity to run the larger pumps. This would be a significant improvement in efficiency if it performs as well as the models project.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  John Pickens
March 12, 2021 6:00 am

When the OOMPA-LOOMPAs sing, their work output is increased which is measured by units called “EEMPAs”. Thus, one OOMPA-LOOMPA singing for 1 second at an average decibel level of 70 increases the WO by one EEMPA.

Joel O’Bryan
March 11, 2021 10:36 pm

I’ve long said the real technical-cost challenge of CCS is not the capture part. Everyone seems to want apply some new sexy cool capture tech and harvest grants for that study of capture. Capture is technical game. But sequestration is a logistics game, and few technical people tend to be good at logistics.

It is the sequestration part though once an exhaust flue of CO2 is captured to a compressed gas or liquid CO2 tank onsite at the generation station that the real cost challenge begins for CCS to be viable.
Our electrical generation plants are dispersed because this how best supply a regional grid and avoid large line losses. But that means each is source of CO2 that if captured by to be transported to a sequestration site for permanent sequestration. That sequestration task of collecting and disposing of the CO2 is the real crux of CCS.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 11, 2021 10:52 pm

Aahhh! Thank you Joel. What I understood as “Carbon Capture” is more properly known as “Sequestration”.

As you said, I feel that the sequestration looks like the hard bit !

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 12, 2021 6:51 am

The U.S. Dept. of Energy is also heavily involved in the Search for the Magic Battery.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 12, 2021 7:48 am

Coal fired power plants that use Super Critical Boilers are clean. Burning Questions video and associated study.

No carbon capture or sequestration needed.

Steve Z
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 12, 2021 11:53 am

The hard part is compression to supercritical pressure, or about 1,100 psi. If EEMPA enables some of the concentrated CO2 to be generated at high pressure, that reduces compression costs, but not enough to make this worthwhile.

CO2 has a critical temperature of about 88 F, above which it cannot be liquefied at any pressure. If CO2 was liquefied at a lower temperature and pumped into the ground, geothermal heating at great depths could cause rapid vaporization and explosive expansion, which could lead to man-made earthquakes. At supercritical pressures this danger is avoided, but the compression power required is about 20% (gas-fired plant) to 30% (coal-fired plant) of the power generated.

Alastair gray
March 11, 2021 11:48 pm

Petra Nova inTexas solve the problem just fine by separating Oxygen from air then burning gas ,using hot Co2 and steam to drive turbines. The Co2 is thus effectively captured but how do you sequester it Petra Nova are able to sell it for use in heavy oil recovery but that is a special case

March 12, 2021 12:07 am


Unless you have a specific use for CO2, …

it is FAR BETTER to put in into the atmosphere where PLANT LIFE,

that sustains ALL LIFE ON EARTH,

can use it.

Steve E.
Reply to  fred250
March 12, 2021 4:11 am

So how big is the market for marijuana grow facilities with CO2 enriched atmospheres?

Reply to  Steve E.
March 12, 2021 5:22 am

Everyone will get to smoke an additional ton per day, except in DC where consumption is already maxxed out.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Steve E.
March 12, 2021 8:00 am

Really a good idea, Steve.

Let’s surround every fossil fuel power plant with a few hundred square miles of greenhouses.

Pipe in the effluent CO2 to cultivate commercial added-value crops. The crops would grow like gang-busters in a 4000 ppm CO2 atmosphere.

I wonder if that would be economically and commercially viable on its own. No subsidies. The CO2 feedstock would be pretty much free.

Jon R
Reply to  Pat Frank
March 15, 2021 3:32 pm

Because that makes sense I am 100% certain Liberals Hate it.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  fred250
March 12, 2021 5:00 am

trees magically turn CO2 into wood- and the more CO2 the faster they do it

Peta of Newark
March 12, 2021 12:09 am

There was a story circulating a little while ago, certainly amongst ‘practical’ peasants who could understand it, about A Farmer ‘somewhere’ who had slightly modified his tractor and the plough it pulled along.

All he’d done was to attach a flexible metal (obviously) tube/duct from the exhaust manifold of his tractor’s engine which led down ‘into’ the plough itself, attached behind.

Generally arranged, if you’re familiar with ploughs you’ll understand straight away, so that the exhaust gases/fumes were placed into the open furrow just at the point where the adjacent furrow was being flipped over – thus ‘burying’ the fumes from the tractor’s engine as it went along ploughing.

The Farmer himself was asserted to be overjoyed by his own brilliance and how well the crop he planted subsequently grew.

Completely forget about the GHGE and then: can anyone here actually give good reason why he should not have been?
(If you ‘know’ dirt your head will be swimming in Good Reasons)

I would assert that:
“”The Good Folks of Texas might also have been swimming: out-of-doors in their own personal pools (if they had one) ALL through this February just gone if that sort of advice had been taken aboard – A Long Time Ago“”

How ANYTHING could be so perfectly misunderstood in these supposed never-been-better scientific times is simply surreal.
there’s no other word

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Matthew Sykes
March 12, 2021 12:19 am

Why do you hate plants so much? You feed ducks at the pond right, so why not feed the trees, are you some kind of specieist?

(Critical Species Theory, or how we can screw the left up with their own logic. 🙂 )

March 12, 2021 12:38 am

CO2 is primarily released through human activities like fossil fuel combustion”…..
This is the neat trick originated by the IPCC, only investigate anthropogenic production of CO2 and don’t investigate the planets natural production.

How can such a claim be justified if you only look at one side of the coin…_

Mike Lowe
March 12, 2021 1:15 am

Completely pointless. We need MORE CO2 in the atmosphere, not less!

Ron Long
March 12, 2021 1:18 am

In a related story it is reported that “Scientists have developed a scheme to more efficiently starve plants to death”.

Reply to  Ron Long
March 12, 2021 1:28 am

…by increasing CO2 conc. by 47%, the cruel bastards.

Reply to  Loydo
March 12, 2021 2:17 am

And plants and humanity are thriving.

We produce more and more agriculture while the planet greens.

More humans are escaping 3rd world poverty. Look at the Chinese who went from abject poverty of the 70s to now using fossil fuels. They even figured out how to use fossil fuels to build your stupid windmills and solar panels 😉

Reply to  Loydo
March 12, 2021 2:53 am

The idiot loy-dodo yaps mindlessly again!

You are such a PUTZ, loy-dodo. !

Reply to  Loydo
March 12, 2021 6:44 am

Loydo must be a grammar school dropout and never learned about photosynthesis.

Reply to  accordionsrule
March 12, 2021 11:40 am

Loydo must be a grammar school dropout

A “LIFE” drop-out more likely.

One of nature’s FAILURES. !

Doubt he ever got as far as grammar school.

March 12, 2021 1:35 am

What pollutants/byproducts does this process give off ? The article says : “water-rich amines mix with flue gas, absorb CO2” what are the water rich amines and do they give off a gas as a byproduct of the process.

March 12, 2021 1:39 am

I swear, these folks are innumerate. They say they can capture carbon for $47.10 per tonne. Humans currently emit about 37 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. To capture it all would require spending about $1.7 TRILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR!

Yeah, like that’s gonna happen …


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 12, 2021 2:26 am

“$1.7 TRILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR!” – How can that possibly be a problem? Joe Biden has committed to that once already. All he has to do is the same thing again each year. I think he would actually find it a lot easier than trying to think up something new. He needs something he can do in his sleep and this surely is it. It’s not his money, so that part of the equation doesn’t matter.

It would be tempting to think that futile expenditure on this scale would also get Joe Biden a Nobel Prize – it has already been demonstrated that for a US president to broker three (or was it four) Middle East peace agreements is not even worth a mention – but they are unlikely to give another Nobel Prize to someone who already has all six.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 12, 2021 2:40 am

At a cost of $400-$500 million per unit, commercial technology can capture carbon at roughly $58.30 per metric ton of CO2, according to a DOE analysis. EEMPA, according to Jiang’s study, can absorb CO2 from power plant flue gas and later release it as pure CO2 for as little as $47.10 per metric ton, offering an additional technology option for power plant operators to capture their CO2.

The 45Q tax credit is currently $50 per metric ton of CO2 for geological disposal and $35/ton for industrial/agricultural purposes.

What are the odds on industry being able to continue bringing the costs down?

What are the odds on government continuing to drive the value of CO2 up?

David Cox
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 12, 2021 5:24 am

Both mathematically, technically and commercially!
EEMPA – N-(2-ethoxyethyl)-3-morpholinopropan-1-amine is a solvent, but not going to be cheap! They want 4000gallons for a 0.5MW test! I wonder what size the production scale chemical plant would be.
God help them if they want to put it on a proper plant. An improper plant, eg Drax, might well have other pollutants that could react with this expensive solvent too!

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 12, 2021 6:30 am

Willis E.: To capture it all would require spending about $1.7 TRILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR!

Yeah. How stupid can they be? The cost for additional printing presses alone for printing that kind of money would put the U.S. into debt.

Last edited 1 month ago by H.R.
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 12, 2021 7:57 am

Biden wants to spend $3Trillion to boost the economy, and to pay off fellow Democrats.
That’s after the $1.9Trillion Covid relief bill, of which only 9% was actually spent on Covid relief.
These days wasting $1.7Trillion is chump change.

March 12, 2021 1:51 am

I just hope that in 10 to 20 years time when we are freezing our balls of the will have a way to put it all back!

March 12, 2021 2:12 am

The 45Q tax credit is currently $50/ton of CO2 for CCS (permanent geological disposal) and $35/ton for CCUS (enhanced oil recovery and other industrial/agricultural purposes). The tax credit is fully transferable, so it can be used to finance CCS/CCUS, the same way solar and wind are often financed.

At $50/ton, the economics of CCS can be comparable to natural gas at $2.50/mcf.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 12, 2021 8:49 am

So people with no natural gas applications would forced to spend that money just because they have a carbon dioxide capture plant in their electric zone. Wasteful and unnecessary.

Reply to  mkelly
March 12, 2021 9:36 am

Nobody is forced to “spend” anything.

March 12, 2021 3:09 am

so from stupid 58 to cheaper still stupid 47?
or you could save the entire cost and NOT bother being so daft!

Last edited 1 month ago by ozspeaksup
Russell Robles-Thome
March 12, 2021 3:15 am

I thought these numbers were quite exciting, until I realized that the ‘Storage’ part of Carbon Capture and Storage probably needs to be added in. Meh. Still useful to know that capture is about 2 c/kWh for Gas and about twice that for coal.

March 12, 2021 3:39 am

It isn’t 1st. April already is it?
The International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control? Good grief.
I bet they don’t discuss H2O, though.

Reply to  Oldseadog
March 12, 2021 7:58 am

With the Democrats in charge, every day is April 1st.

Michael in Dublin
March 12, 2021 3:57 am

A look back in history reveals how ingenuous people have been – at no great cost – to survive various environments and to thrive. This proves that we can adapt to climate changes, even use these to our benefit and as a bonus also reduce pollution at a small fraction of the cost of the futile exercise of trying to engineer climate.

It is meaningless to suggest an ideal average maximum temperature. We not only have five main climate groups (Köppen classification) subdivided into some 30 groups but have numerous microclimates. Are we going to try and engineer an ideal climate for each sub area when it is so complex that we cannot accurately say how changes in one will impact all the others? Do we know that a welcome 5ºC increase in average temperatures in a certain area will translate into a global increase of 5ºC? If we cannot determine accurately how much the human contribution is to carbon dioxide increase in one locality or the exact impact this will have there and globally this gives me even more reason to view this is an exercise in futility. 

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
March 12, 2021 10:12 am

Is it just that I agree 100 % with Michael’s comment that I consider it to be the most sensible thing I’ve read in a long, long time.

Mods, please make his comment a feature post.

March 12, 2021 5:53 am

Watts up with this idiotic site??? Did they miss the news that the earth is greening up on its own to account for the extra carbon? That desertification, one of the environmental movement’s buzzwords, has actually begun reversing? That there is NO need to create any system for carbon capture, because one already exists that is LITERALLY AS LARGE AS THE PLANET???
My God this site spews some totally idiotic garbage, it seems to be trolling us. I’m done, it’s added to my blacklist so I never come here again. DONE.

Reply to  FlippyNips
March 12, 2021 8:00 am

1) Bye
2) Are you actually stupid enough to believe that publishing an article means that the managers and readers of WUWT endorse that article?

Reply to  FlippyNips
March 12, 2021 11:44 am

WUWT likes to post these as a MOCKERY of whole anti-carbon farce

Hadn’t you noticed ?

This allows posters to point out JUST HOW STUPIDLY MORONIC the whole anti-CO2 cult really is.

Last edited 1 month ago by fred250
Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  FlippyNips
March 12, 2021 1:46 pm

What MarkW and fred250 said. This forum subjects these sorts of claims to a rather stringent peer review process. Sometime the comments are less than gentle.

Reply to  Chuck no longer in Houston
March 12, 2021 10:01 pm

I’m always gentle !! 🙂

Jon R
Reply to  FlippyNips
March 15, 2021 3:36 pm

Someday you will realize you were wrong. I’m guessing it’s going to take about 12 years.

Abolition Man
March 12, 2021 6:17 am

Spending time worrying and working on carbon capture or sequestration is not unlike folks in a desert community being worried about a small water seep someday causing a flood! You could build a flood control system with dikes and levees galore to speed the evaporation of the seep; or you could collect the precious stuff for a later date when you might really NEED it!
I can’t think of anything more insane than trying lower the level of atmospheric CO2 when an increase would be wholly beneficial, with increased plant growth and crop yields and, just possibly, a slight increase in surface air temps during an ICE AGE!
In case you missed it, Mother Nature does a pretty amazing job of carbon capture already. In fact, plant life and oceanic foraminifera and coccolithophores do such a bang up job that we are destined to RUN OUT of adequate CO2 in the near geologic future!
Anyone who downplays this either has a serious hole in their education or is not really interested in the future of human civilization and life on Earth!

Farmer Ch E retired
March 12, 2021 6:41 am

I wish them luck but am skeptical. In my 10-years at Battelle NW (the ‘80s) we spent huge sums on radioactive waste-form development as did some other national labs. Our team received awards including one from the the National Society of Professional Engineers. After all these years, if afraid much it the work is now a footnote in history. In the late ‘70s, my first corporate report was on changing the dilute in the plutonium reclamation facility’s solvent extraction process. While important at the time, the Z Plant facility has since been razed.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
March 12, 2021 7:13 am

Won’t a lot the waste be used as fuel in future reactors?

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Abolition Man
March 12, 2021 6:39 pm

Depends – there are many types of rad waste.

Carlo, Monte
March 12, 2021 6:43 am

Does this mean no more masks?

Bill Rocks
March 12, 2021 7:21 am

Paragraph 5, concerning amount of CO2 in the atmosphere: “CO2 is primarily released through human activities like fossil fuel combustion,”

Is this true? No, most of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is due to natural processes.

Reply to  Bill Rocks
March 12, 2021 9:29 am

Natural processes are at least 95% of the release.

Curious George
March 12, 2021 7:47 am

The chemical formula for EEMPA is pretty complex. Nobody seems to discuss its toxicity or a potential environmental harm.

March 12, 2021 7:47 am

Even if it were free, it still wouldn’t be worth it.

Pat Frank
March 12, 2021 7:51 am

Here’s what the molecule “EEMPA” looks like. The full name is N-(2-ethoxyethyl)-3-morpholinopropan-1-amine.

It’s just a tweak on conventional amine-capture technology. Fun stuff for chemists, and another way to increase the cost of electric power for everyone else.

Unless another technical use can be found for the chemistry, or unless the work provides an avenue to advance chemical theory or practice, the research is an utter waste of time.

Just as is pretty much all of AGW-directed effort.

David Cox
Reply to  Pat Frank
March 12, 2021 10:33 am

Entirely agree, Pat, see my comment on Willis’ thread above. Apart from the lack of understanding of the cost aspects of such scrubbing, they seem without any thought on the costs of engineering a plant to make EEMPA. Someone presumably has been roped in to pay for the 4000 gallon pilot plant, suitable as they say for a 0.5MW energy plant. There aren’t many that small!

March 12, 2021 10:46 am

I was standing in this open field one day when all these wind turbines started rising out of the ground. Yes I know what he is talking about that it takes no energy.

March 12, 2021 10:55 am

In Northern areas where natural gas IS available, greenhouse operation during the winter benefits from the heating and increased CO2 required to warm greenhouses. But with increased restrictions on natural gas, many will welcome the advances being shown in LENR. (spam alert!-do not read replies)
That being said, we still need CO2 to raise greenhouse atmospheres to 1,000 ppm CO2 or thereabout.
Vertical gardening is another area that is likely to more important with lower electrical/heat costs.
Don’t throw your CO2 away!

Steve Z
March 12, 2021 10:55 am

[QUOTE FROM ARTICLE]”The chemical process for extracting CO2 from post-combustion gas remains largely unchanged: water-rich amines mix with flue gas, absorb CO2 and are later stripped of the gas, which is then compressed and stored. But aqueous amines have limitations. Because they’re water-rich, they must be boiled at high temperatures to remove CO2 and then cooled before they can be reused, driving costs upward.”[ENDQUOTE]

The main problem with the classical amine solutions is not that they need to be “boiled at high temperatures”, but that they need to be stripped at low pressure, so that the concentrated CO2 needs to be compressed to supercritical pressure (about 1,100 psi) to be safely stored.

Ethanolamines have been routinely used in petroleum refineries, mainly to capture hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from off-gases from hydrotreaters used to desulfurize kerosene and diesel fuel. They also absorb CO2, but most hydrotreater gas does not contain much CO2.

In a typical configuration, high-pressure hydrotreater gas (containing mostly hydrogen, methane, ethane, and traces of H2S) is contacted with lean (low-H2S) cold amine solution (normally methyl diethanolamine) in water. The amine solution reacts with H2S) and exits the bottom of the absorber, from which it is heated by exchange with warm lean amine, then flashed into a low-pressure stripping tower, reboiled using steam. Sweetened (H2S free) gas from the top of the absorber can be used as fuel.

The reaction of H2S with amine, which is favored at low temperature and high pressure, is reversed at high temperature and low pressure, so the H2S is released from the amine, and leaves the top of the tower. The overhead condenser is used to condense any boiled water, which is refluxed to the stripper, while concentrated H2S remains in the gas phase, where it can be reacted to either elemental sulfur (Claus plant) or sulfuric acid.

Hot, lean amine from the bottom of the stripper is then cooled by heat exchange with rich amine, and further cooled by cooling water, and pumped back to the absorber tower. This system works well for absorbing hydrogen sulfide, because high pressures are not needed at the inlet of Claus plants or sulfuric acid plants.

The use of amine solutions for CO2 capture is much more difficult, due to the sheer volume of CO2 to be recovered (about 15 to 20% in flue gas) compared to the traces (<1%) of H2S in hydrotreater gas. This requires huge absorption and stripping columns, and large pumps to circulate the amine.

The main advantage of this new amine solution seems to be that some of the CO2 is recovered at high pressure (probably by heating, in order to reverse the reaction), which means that some of the compression energy can be saved. Still, the “semi-rich solution” has to be flashed at low pressure to remove the remainder of the CO2. Also, does recovering some of the CO2 at high pressure require more heat input to reverse the reaction, since the higher partial pressure of CO2 would tend to favor the absorption reaction, and disfavor the stripping reaction (Le Chatelier’s Principle)?

Reducing the cost of carbon capture and sequestration from $58.30 to $47.10 per metric ton (about 19%) may be helpful, but is it really necessary? An extra metric ton of CO2 in the atmosphere raises the average concentration by 0.000000000012 ppm (about 0.12 parts per quadrillion)–can anyone demonstrate that it would cause $47.10 worth of damage to the environment? A plant can convert a metric ton of CO2 into 682 kg of glucose by photosynthesis–what about the value of the glucose?

March 12, 2021 11:03 am

On of the most disturbing/ridiculous things I got from this article is that there is an “International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control”.

March 12, 2021 2:30 pm

$47 per metric tonne, times 36.7 GT CO2 emitted per year, = $1.7 TRILLION just to stay even …

Math. Don’t’cha love it?


Eric Stevens
March 12, 2021 2:56 pm

Fifty three years ago I built and operated two conventional absorbtion plants to operate this very process. Both used conventional water-base amine solvents. The plants captured a relatively high proportion of the CO2 when run with a high amine concentrations but the steel components (virtually everything) dissolved almost as you watched. Reducing the amine concentration made the corrosion problem tolerable but CO2 capture fell dismally. I can see the virtue of running an almost anhydrous process in corrosion resitant plastic equipment. Potentially this will considerably increase the efficiency of the carbon capture. However there is no mention of the elephant in the room. CO2 is absorbed by the solvent at low temperature and stripped by raising the temperature of the saturated solvent. Heat is required to run the process. Heat can be recovered from the hot stripped solvent but this will be difficult and expensive unless the viscosity of the solvent can be reduced to a level comparable with that of water. I will follow this program with interest but I don’t think that it will be a commercial goer for the purpose of ‘saving the earth’.

Wayne West
March 12, 2021 3:42 pm

For every CO2 molecule used by plants, a molecule of O2 is produced. I don’t see a problem.

Walter Sobchak
March 12, 2021 5:48 pm

I have a better idea. Nuclear Energy.

Loren C. Wilson
March 12, 2021 6:28 pm

EEMPA is N-(2-ethoxyethyl)-3-morpholinopropan1-amine. Your homework assignment is to draw the molecule from this name. I think it looks like this:

CCOCC-NH-CCC-M where M is morpholine (six member ring with nitrogen in the #1 location and oxygen in the #4 location). The linkage between the main part of the molecule and morpholine appears to be between the third carbon atom in the propane backbone and the nitrogen in the morpholine group. Hydrogens are omitted on the carbon chains.

March 14, 2021 10:08 am

There is already a tested technology out there which allows you to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity, and capture all of its CO2 for resale. It is already economically competitive with natural gas plants. However, it uses fossil fuels, and the CO2 is frequently used to inject into oil reservoirs for better recovery.

Reply to  cms
March 14, 2021 4:14 pm

Net Power’s pilot project was very successful. The Allam Cycle captures and separates pretty well all of the exhaust gases. They currently have four commercial power plants under construction.

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