3D printed device enhances carbon capture


The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind aluminium device that enhances the capture of CO2 emitted from fossil fuel plants and other industrial processes.

ORNL’s device focuses on a key challenge in conventional adsorption of carbon using solvents. By using additive manufacturing, the researchers were able to custom design a multifunctional device that improves the process efficiency by removing excess heat.

Adsorption, one of the most commonly used and economical methods for capturing CO2, places a flue-gas stream from smokestacks in contact with a solvent, such as monoethanolamine, known as MEA, or other amine solutions, that can react with the gas.

The team tested the novel circular device, which integrates a heat exchanger with a mass-exchanging contactor, inside a one-meter-tall by eight-inch-wide adsorption column consisting of seven commercial stainless-steel packing elements. The 3D-prinited intensified device was installed in the top half of the column between the packing elements. 

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