European project decreases CO2 capture cost to less than 15 €/ton

04 Feb 2014 - The European Union signed an 10 M€ contract with a consortium of 16 European partners (M4CO2) to develop energy efficient CO2 capture in power plants and energy intensive industries, both for pre- and post-combustion. The consortium led by Delft University of Technology started its four year work at 1st January 2014 and will develop high performance Mixed Matrix Membranes based on engineered Metal-organic frameworks and polymers for continuous CO2 separation.

World energy consumption is expected to increase by 53% from 2008 to 2035, and the world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise from 30.2 billion metric tons in 2008 to 35.2 billion metric tons in 2020, and 43.2 billion metric tons in 2035, followed by a strong economic growth and continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Control of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as CO2 is one of the most challenging environmental issues related to global climate change. Reduction of CO2 emissions from large CO2 point sources, especially fossil fired power plants and other energy intensive industries based on CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) technology could be a potential approach for the fight against global warming.

By applying an innovative membrane concept by this consortium of world key players, continuous separation processes of unsurpassed energy efficiency will be realized as a gas-liquid phase change is absent, reducing the energy penalty and resulting in smaller CO2 footprints. Further, gas separation membrane units are safer, environmentally friendly and, in general, have smaller physical footprints than other types of plants like amine stripping.

In this way this project aims at a quantum leap in energy reduction for CO2 separation with associated cost efficiency and environmental impact reduction.

The highly selective membranes will allow CO2 capture at costs below 15 €/ton CO2 (≈ 10-15 €/MWh), amply meeting targets of the European SET-Plan (strategic energy technologies), who calls for 90% of CO2 recovery at a cost lower than 25€/MWh.

As well, the M4CO2 consortium will boost a strong culture of exchange with scientist beyond the European borders. Therefore they work close together with Australian initiatives in CCS development.

The consortium partners comprise leading companies and research groups, with core competences in membranes, polymers and reaction engineering. The major industrial partners are Total (France), Johnson Matthey (UK), Polymem (France) and HyGear (The Netherlands).