Surfactant addition to alkali solutions for increased carbon dioxide absorption rates

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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


To meet the growing need for CO2 capture and storage technology, Michigan Technological University is studying CO2 capture using alkali-based solvents. The objective of the present study was to find a way to increase the absorption rate of CO2 into an alkali solution without reducing the absorption capacity of the solution. One approach to increasing absorption rate is to use a surfactant to chemically alter the gas bubble size. The surfactant chosen for the study was a neutral-charge polypropylene glycol methyl ether (PPGME) with a molecular weight of 200. Experiments were conducted to study the absorption rate of CO2 at varying surfactant concentrations. Results showed that as the concentration of PPGME increased in solution, the absorption rate also increased. The CO2 absorption rate increased from 3.45 × 10-3 mol/min CO2 at 0g/L PPGME to 3.92 × 10-3 mol/min CO2 at 0.48 g/L PPGME. This amounted to a 14% increase in the CO2 absorption rate with no decrease in the absorption capacity of the solution.

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Minerals and Metallurgical Processing