Coal Industry Innovation By Coal21 Can Help Oakland Bulk And Oversized Terminal
By Zennie Abraham
July 11, 2019 - The market for the planned Oakland Bulk And Oversized Terminal (developed by Phil Tagami of California Capital Investment Group, or CCIG) could be strengthened by a new technological development out of Australia.
According to Mining Magazine, COAL21, an research organization backed by the Government of Australia, has partnered with Canadian-based CO2 Solutions to develop a methodology and machinery that's actually called a "carbon sponge technology". It can be used for coal-fired plants and industrial processes.
"The methodology applied by Procom in this in-depth study included the development of rate-based models for absorber/stripper, the validation of the enzymatic technology's heat/mass balance and the key performance parameters and model integration of the enzymatic technology in coal-fired power plants," CO2 Solutions officials explained to Mining Magazine.
"The Procom study confirmed the enzymatic process minimises the environmental footprint through the use of an ionic (non-volatile) and environmentally benign solvent. It converts oxide contaminants in flue gas (SOx and NOx) into high-value sulphates, sulphites, nitrates and nitrites accumulating over a period of time in the solvent.
"As a result, the periodic bleed of this nontoxic solvent creates an opportunity to recover valuable materials, such as potassium nitrate fertiliser, which reduces the overall operating cost of the enzymatic technology. This approach is not available to the advanced amine technology. Through expected optimization, the enzymatic technology could be more favorable than amine-based processes regarding capex and overall energy requirements, and very favourable to amine-based processes regarding aspects related to management of oxide flue gas contaminants," CO2 Solutions said of the technology.
What Is A Carbon Sponge And What Are The Benefits?
The COAL21 Press Release explains the following:
Natural enzymes have the potential to significantly reduce Australia’s industrial and energy emissions at lower cost and with less environmental impact than other carbon capture technologies.
A review of the innovative carbon capture process developed by Canadian firm CO2 Solutions Inc. - commissioned by Australia’s coal industry research and development fund COAL21 – shows using enzymes for carbon capture will be cheaper, more environmentally friendly and use less energy than other methods.
The main study conclusions reached by PROCOM Consultants, according to the companies, include:
The enzymatic technology appears well suited to coal-based industrial plants (eg iron and steel, cement) in particular for its tolerance to the oxides in flue gas and appears to have significant environmental and operational advantages over alternative post-combustion capture technologies, such as advanced amine technology;
By using low-grade, residual thermal energy in the form of hot water, the modelled unoptimised enzymatic solvent performance yields marginally more electricity in the context of an existing coal-fired power plant in Australia compared with the advanced amine process.
The enzymatic technology’s tolerance to SOx and NOx contaminants in the flue gas of low-sulphur coal-fired plants provides it with an estimated 30% capital expenditure (capex) advantage relative to the advanced amine technology since there is no requirement to polish this flue gas down to single digit parts per million using Flue Gas Desulphurisation and Selective Catalytic Reduction;
Modelling has confirmed that SC coal-fired power plants in Australia have sufficient residual low-grade heat to give the enzymatic technology a slight power efficiency advantage over the advanced amine technology. Moreover, the likely further optimisation of the enzymatic technology would extend this advantage.
In addition to being able to use residual, low-grade heat in the form of hot water as its thermal energy, the enzymatic technology could also tap into renewable energy sources such as geothermal and solar thermal sources for its energy requirements, options which are more challenging to the advanced amine technology which requires steam, according to the companies. Tapping into these sources of external renewable heat would potentially significantly reduce the thermal parasitic load of carbon capture;
The PROCOM study confirmed the enzymatic process minimises the environmental footprint through the use of an ionic (non-volatile) and environmentally benign solvent;
The enzymatic technology converts a portion of the oxide contaminants in the flue gas (SOx and NOx) into high-value sulphates, sulphites, nitrates and nitrites, which accumulate over time in the solvent. As a result, the periodic bleed of this nontoxic solvent creates an opportunity to recover valuable materials, such as potassium nitrate fertiliser, which reduces the overall operating cost of the enzymatic technology. This approach is not available to the advanced amine technology, and;
Through expected optimisation, the enzymatic technology could be more favourable than amine-based processes regarding capex and overall energy requirements, and very favourable to amine-based processes regarding aspects related to management of oxide flue gas contaminants.
Mark McCallum, CEO of COAL21, said the enzymatic technology developed by CO2 Solutions is an “exciting process that holds the promise of lower-cost and environmentally friendly carbon capture. It has demonstrated that it is possible to reduce parasitic energy loads and the overall environmental footprint. It is through the broad application of technologies such as these that we can mitigate carbon emissions from any source, including coal.”
The application of this tech will increase and prolong the market for coal, worldwide.