Equilibrium analysis of carbon dioxide absorption in alkali solutions

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


To meet the growing need for CO2 capture and storage technology, Michigan Technological University is researching CO2capture and storage using alkali solutions1. Without implementing emission controls, world energy emissions will rise from 29.7 billion t in 2007 to 42.4 billion t in 2035. The first objective of the project was to determine the optimal amount of alkali in solution for CO2 absorption. This was accomplished using theoretical equilibrium calculations and experimental absorption data for alkali solutions of 1, 2,3,4 and 5 weight %. As the % alkali in solution increased, so, too, did the ionic strength of the solution. Theoretical calculations took into account the effect increasing ionic strength will have on the solubility of gaseous CO2- The calculations assumed negligible formation Of H2CO3, constant temperature and constant pressure. In the experimental setup, a 16% C02/balance air gas mixture was bubbled through an Erlenmeyer flask filled with an alkali solution. The gas exiting the flask was fed to a gas analyzer to record the % CO2 in the exhaust gas stream. The % CO2 absorbed was taken as the % CO2 in the exhaust gas minus the % CO2 in the feed. Theoretical calculations found that as the % alkali in solution increases, the solubility of CO2 decreases. This was verified by experimental data, which found that a 2% alkali solution, by weight,. was the ideal solution for CO2 absorption. Current research is focused on using the 2% alkali solution for permanent storage of CO2 via mineral carbonation to produce a value-added product.

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Minerals and Metallurgical Processing