APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Carbon capture systems
- Significantly reduces the cost of carbon capture to $100 per metric ton
- Uses hybridization of pre-existing cooling tower equipment
- Integrated thermal sorbent regeneration and blowdown management
- Direct air capture (DAC) systems are designed to extract low concentrations of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help mitigate carbon emissions, especially from sources and industries that cannot be electrified yet. The biggest barrier to commercializing and deploying DAC systems has been cost, as plants require large fans to generate airflow and energy for regeneration, incurring large capital expenses and operating costs. Current pilot systems can capture CO2 at a cost of over $500 per ton, greatly exceeding the DOE target for carbon capture systems of $100 per ton of CO2 captured.
By integrating a DAC system with a geothermal cooling tower, both the capital investment and operating costs of carbon capture can be reduced. Geothermal plants already require large volumes of airflow through cooling towers, from which CO2 can be absorbed by an appropriate capture medium. Berkeley Lab researchers have identified material compositions that are effective as CO2 absorbents without compromising their function as cooling liquid for the cooling tower as well as an integrated sorbent regeneration process.
Another advantage of integrating DAC with a geothermal plant is in waste processing. In other cooling tower-DAC hybrid system implementations, CO2 absorbents must be either non-toxic or treated in order for the cooling tower blowdown to be vented to the environment. Geothermal plants divert their cooling tower blowdown into subterranean reservoirs at very high temperatures, in which complex molecules will quickly decompose at such high temperatures. Routing the blowdown into this reservoir means that toxic absorbents will be automatically treated without any other action, reducing cost and allowing the absorbent to be selected based solely on performance metrics as toxic compounds will be inherently eliminated.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: System validated in relevant environment
- Fabian Rosner
- Hanna Breunig
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv-2023-whjvj