Research and Innovation Center on CO2 and Hydrogen (RICH)


February 1, 2022

The RICH Seminar Series gather key scientists and engineers to support knowledge dissemination and exchange between world-recognized researchers and RICH investigators, while fostering international collaborations and generating a beacon of education to inform and train society about carbon dioxide and hydrogen in the clean energy and climate neutrality scenario.

Organized each month and available online, the RICH Seminar Series will be broadly advertised and made available to all like-minded and interested researchers, scientists, engineers, policy makers, and students at no access cost.

Title: Insights into industrial scale CO2 capture by Metal-Organic Frameworks

Speaker: Dr. Philip Llewellyn, CCUS R&D Program Manager, TotalEnergies

Date: 31 January 2022

Most of us, including TotalEnergies, accept that climate change is a reality and that a collective effort will be needed to limit its impact. TotalEnergies has integrated climate into the core of its strategy with notably the ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Carbon storage is a key factor to achieve carbon neutrality via both carbon sinks (i.e., that can absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide) and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). Indeed, CCUS technologies will be essential for numerous industries, particularly those that generate large volumes of carbon dioxide. TotalEnergies allocates 10% of their R&D budget to CCUS over all areas and technology readiness levels (TRL). This effort is not new, with TotalEnergies being partner of the Norwegian carbon capture platform at Sleipner project from 1996. From 2010 to 2013, TotalEnergies demonstrated a complete carbon capture, transportation and storage chain at one of their sites in the south west of France. Currently, TotalEnergies is partner with Shell, Equinor and the Norwegian Government in the Northern Lights project which initially aims to transport and store 1.5 Mtonnes of CO2 per year. If this is successful, the second stage of Northern Lights aims to store around 5 Mtonnes of CO2 per year. Carbon dioxide capture can be considered as the most expensive step in a carbon capture, transport and storage (CCS) chain. Indeed, most carbon capture methods that are currently applied to anthropogenic sources suggest that there is room for improvement, for example, in terms of energy required, process integration and possibly also in terms of environmental impact. Depending on the CO2 source and site where it is produced, one of several approaches can be considered, and the final choice of technology will depend on many factors including integration, available energy, as well as any future evolution of CO2 characteristics, possible process electrification with renewable energies etc… Adsorption-based CO2 capture can be argued of interest with respect to energy requirements and environmental impact. Whilst adsorption-based capture processes can be quite complex, one can consider three elements : the process, the contactor and the adsorbent material. In terms of process, whilst pressure swing adsorption (PSA) and temperature swing adsorption (TSA) are well known, one should not overlook the possibility of methods based on concentration swings. In terms of contactor, fixed bed systems may well be replaced by fluidized beds or moving beds. The use of rotating wheels may allow more rapid cycles to be developed. In terms of material, zeolites and amine-grafted silicas are now being challenged by metal-organic frameworks as the material of choice.
The aim of this talk is to a give a quasi-industrial perspective of the area of CO2 capture using adsorption. Note that TotalEnergies does not sell any anthropogenic CO2 capture technology which allows the possibility to be agnostic in terms of reflections made. This discussion will however be biased towards approaches and adsorbent materials that are being demonstrated at pilot centers or in demonstration projects around the world. Areas in which materials research can play a role will be highlighted, with the hope that we can make bold advances in the area of CO2 capture by adsorption. Such approaches may provide bricks to future CCS and CCU chains, and which will contribute to our effort to limit climate change.