The Carbon Capture and Conversion Institute (CCCI) accelerates the development, piloting, scale-up and validation of new carbon capture and conversion technologies. As the world’s industrial economies move toward decarbonization, there is an escalating need to push next generation carbon capture and conversion research from early stage to full-scale implementation. The CCCI was created to deliver solutions by providing experts and facilities to help research and pilot new technologies.
The Institute is a unique partnership between CMC, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and BC Research Inc. (BCRI). Each partner organization brings its own area of expertise to the Institute, making the CCCI a highly effective way to develop and pilot new processes.
To learn more visit the official CCCI website.
For information contact:
Dr. Naoko Ellis, Senior Research Director, Naoko.Ellis@ubc.ca
Richard Adamson, CMC President, Richard.Adamson@cmcghg.com
Between 2010 and 2012 CMC Research Institutes distributed $22 million to 44 research projects across Canada. Included in those projects were many that examined how CO2 could be captured in industrial processes using economic and novel means.
Following is a list of carbon capture and conversion research projects funded by CMC.
Integrated fluidized bed gasification and looping CO2 capture
Principal Investigators: Naoko Ellis, University of British Columbia; Nader Mahinpey, University of Calgary; Edward Anthony, Natural Resources Canada; Hugo de Lasa, University of Western Ontario; John Grace, University of British Columbia; Serge Kaliaguine, Université Laval; Jim Lim, University of British Columbia; Arturo Macchi, University of Ottawa
Funding: $1.069 million/3 years
Summary: Gasification is a promising technology for reducing carbon emissions resulting from the conversion of hydrocarbons. The research team is proposing a novel integrated gasification and CO2 capture process. Solid sorbents are used to capture CO2 in situ during the gasification reaction. Two major advantages result: (i) CO2 is captured without expensive post-reaction processes, and (ii) the gasification reaction is shifted toward products, improving efficiency. Research results will provide the information required to reach the demonstration stage.
Fluidized bed gasification of low-grade coals and petcoke
Principal Investigators: Josephine Hill, University of Calgary; Charles Mims, University of Toronto; Jamal Chaouki, Polytechnique de Montréal; Rajender Gupta, University of Alberta; Ray Spiteri, University of Saskatchewan; Nader Mahinpey, University of Calgary
Funding: $1.04 million/3 years
Summary: Gasification is a technology that can be used for converting coal, petroleum coke and biomass to clean fuels and feedstocks for the production of chemicals. Furthermore, gasification produces a concentrated stream of CO2 ready for capture and storage. In this project, a fluidized bed catalytic gasification process will be developed and tailored to Canadian hydrocarbon resources. This next generation technology will improve efficiency and reduce costs, thereby accelerating market uptake and the concomitant carbon emission reduction.
Development of direct air capture technology
Principal Investigators: David Keith, University of Calgary; John Grace, University of British Columbia; Jim Lim, University of British Columbia; Edward Anthony, Natural Resources Canada
Funding: $249,000/2 Years
Industry Partner: Carbon Engineering
Summary: Mitigation of climate change will require deep reductions from all sectors of the economy including transportation. In contrast to conventional carbon capture systems for power plants and other large point sources, direct CO2 capture from ambient air has the advantages that emissions from diffuse sources and past emissions can be captured. In addition, the capture can be carried out at large scale and at the optimum site for storage, saving greatly in the cost of pipelines or other facilities. In this project, university researchers are collaborating with Carbon Engineering, a private company focused on developing technologies to capture CO2 directly from air at industrial scale, to advance a process using an aqueous alkali solution and then regenerates the alkali solution using a caustic recovery process while extracting high purity CO2.
Material development and optimization for zero CO2 emission energy production
Principal Investigators: Abdelhamid Sayari, University of Ottawa; Viola Birss, University of Calgary; Venkataraman Thangadurai, University of Calgary
Funding: $635,000/3 years
Summary: Researchers are collaborating to develop what could become the world’s first zero-emissions solid oxide fuel cell. The technology would provide a home or community with a self-sufficient electricity generation device that produces no CO2. Typically, electricity generation from solid oxide fuel cells is only about 50 percent efficient and releases all the produced CO2. For the CMC-NCE-funded project, researchers will optimize the fuel cell, trap the exhaust CO2 with a patented material and recycle unreacted fuel from the exhaust streams back to the cell, and also partly convert some of the trapped CO2 into useful syngas.
Designing easy-release CO2 capture sorbents at the molecular level
Principal Investigators: George Shimizu, University of Calgary; Tom Woo, University of Ottawa
Funding: $563,000/3 years
Summary: Investigators are teaming up to design materials at a sub-nanometre scale to trap CO2 in exhaust gases from power plants or mixed in with natural gas from unconventional gas reservoirs. The investigators will make, model and test crystalline structures known as metal organic frameworks to trap and release CO2 in the presence of water vapor with much more efficiency and at lower cost than with existing methods. To aid in the design of improved materials, computer modeling will give the team unprecedented insight into CO2 capture at the molecular level.
Development and techno-economic assessment of high performance amine impregnated solid sorbents for post combustion CO2 capture
Principal Investigators: Rajender Gupta, University of Alberta; Weixing Chen, University of Alberta; Zaher Hashisho, University of Alberta; Steve Kuznicki, University of Alberta; Partha Sarkar, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures
Funding: $816,000/3 years
Summary: This project aims to reduce the cost of carbon capture by trapping CO2 in flue gas emitted from coal-burning power plants. Researchers will study the effectiveness and feasibility of using CO2-adsorbing amine coatings on various solid materials, such as carbon nanotubes, vermiculite, petcoke and bio-char. The eventual goal is to direct power plant emissions through a column packed with the CO2-trapping materials that could then be “scrubbed” of CO2 and reused.
Pre- and post-combustion CO2 capture using novel composite CaO/CuO sorbents
Principal Investigators: Arturo Macchi, University of Ottawa; Edward Anthony, University of Ottawa; Poupak Mehrani, University of Ottawa; Josephine Hill, University of Calgary; Robert Legros, École Polytechnique de Montréal; Gregory Patience, École Polytechnique de Montréal
Funding: $500,000/3 years
Summary: Globally, coal-fired power plants contribute a significant amount of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Dr. Arturo Macchi and his team are working on a system to help Canadian coal-fired power plants achieve CO2 emissions equivalent to natural gas which will put coal-fired plant emissions in-line with proposed federal legislation. The process involves the development of new composite sorbent materials that can be used in post and pre-combustion carbon capture processes. Calcium looping cycles (CaL) and chemical looping combustion (CLC) are promising technologies for the reduction of CO2 emissions from all thermal power plants, including coal. This research will integrate CaL and CLC into a new class of CO2 capture processes using composite materials. Specific objectives are to investigate various sorbent formulations and experimentally test their sustained CO2 capture capacity over multiple cycles at simulated industrial conditions. Combined with reactor modeling and process simulation, this will provide technological-economic proof-of-concept. This technology can be applied to thermal power stations and related industries.
Development of novel nanostructured photocatalysts for highly efficient solar photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to fuels
Principal Investigators: David P. Wilkinson, University of British Columbia; Baizeng Fang, University of British Columbia
Funding: $388,000/3 years
Summary: The conversion of CO2 into clean energy fuels is an attractive idea but with current techniques very energy intensive. Researchers are working on an innovative solution to efficiently convert CO2 into methane, alcohols or other hydrocarbon fuels using a catalyst, water vapor and sunlight. The goal is to manufacture new types of catalyst-containing nanostructures with high surface area for absorbing light and test their effectiveness as a component route to carbon neutral fuels.
Frustrated Lewis Pairs: A new approach to CO2 capture and utilization
Principal Investigators: Douglas Stephan, University of Toronto; Eugenia Kumacheva, University of Toronto
Funding: $268,000/2 years
Summary: This work will lay the foundation for a method to convert waste CO2, including potentially air captured CO2, economically into water and methanol, a low emission liquid fuel. The team will build on their breakthrough discovery of a new catalytic process to increase reaction rates for CO2 reduction with hydrogen in order to develop an efficient and cost-effective method for methanol production and potentially kickstart a methanol economy. The ultimate goal is an energy-generation system that would be carbon neutral, with every CO2 molecule released from fuel consumption being converted back into methanol fuel.
Carbon capture for CCS by solid oxide fuel cells
Principal Investigators: Viola Birss, University of Calgary and Olivera Kesler, University of Toronto
Funding: $280,000/3 years
Summary: New technologies are needed for electric power generation systems that are capable of higher efficiency and lower cost CO2 capture than currently achievable with combustion-based power generation. These new technologies must provide a clean CO2 stream that is suitable for injection and storage into underground geological reservoirs or into innovative new CO2 storage systems. Of these, the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is a power generation system that can perform both of these roles at very high efficiency and at multiple scales, from kilowatt to megawatt electrical output. They are potentially important for smaller-scale dispersal applications. Although SOFCs still require enhanced durability, they do not need additional costly technologies in order to exhaust nitrogen-free CO2/high grade steam. However, when used strictly for combined heat and power generation, 10 to 25% unspent fuel and lesser volumes of carbon monoxide may be present in the exhaust. The proposed research of the Birss and Kesler groups will focus on lowering the unspent fuel output levels by designing and performing lab-scale tests of modified SOFC components.
Carbon mineralization in mine waste
Principal Investigators: Gregory Dipple, University of British Columbia; Ulrich Mayer, University of British Columbia; Gordon Southam, University of Western Ontario; Michael Hitch, University of British Columbia
Funding: $120,000/2 years
Summary: Mine waste has an inherent but untapped capacity to absorb and trap CO2. In hard rock mine waste rocks and tailings that are rich in magnesium silicate minerals, carbon fixation capacity can be much larger than total greenhouse gas production from mine operations. Some large mines could therefore operate as net carbon sinks. Furthermore, the capacity to store CO2 in intact magnesium silicate rocks through injection into the such rocks is potentially large and involves similar reaction pathways. This research will evaluate processes for capturing CO2 in mine waste and fixing the carbon with mineral precipitates for safe long-term storage. The project will examine the chemical reactions by which CO2 is trapped and fixed in mineral form through controlled laboratory experiments. The role of biologically mediated reactions will also be examined experimentally.
Carbonate production by sequestration of industrial CO2: revalorization of mine and industrial waste
Principal Investigators: Guy Mercier, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Jean-Francois Blais, INRS; Sandra Kentish, University of Melbourne, Ian Gates, University of Calgary
Funding: $300,000/2 years
Summary: In nature, CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere through a process called carbon mineralization whereby CO2 reacts with minerals to form carbonate rock. The goal of this project, which is being undertaken with industrial partners Holcim Canada and SIGMA DEVTECH, is to use this type of reaction and accelerate it to treat industrial CO2 emissions. The group will be reacting various magnesium and calcium rocks available in mine tailings with the gaseous emission (containing CO2) of a Holcim cement plant with the participation of the cement plant staff in a chemical reactor (a plant in itself). Doing so, silicate of magnesium or calcium, depending on the rocks, used will be transformed to carbonate of magnesium or calcium. Researchers will focus on developing an economically attractive process as well as one that is easily integrated into industrial applications. Cost reductions are being accomplished by decreasing the number of steps, working in low temperature/pressure conditions, and by finding commercial outlets for the carbonated byproducts. The aim is to implement the process in a variety of industries such as steel, coal power plants and cement plants in order to achieve a meaningful decrease of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
Accelerating carbon mineralization in mine wastes
Principal Investigators: Greg Dipple, University of British Columbia, Michael Hitch, University of British Columbia; Ulrich Mayer, University of British Columbia; Gordon Southam, University of Western Ontario and University of Queensland; Siobhan Wilson, Monash University; John Wen, Univeristy of Waterloo; Murray Thomson, University of Toronto
Funding: $600,000/3 years
Summary: The long-term goal of the carbon mineralization project is to develop methods for accelerating carbon sequestration within mine waste and, through partnership with industry, establish a demonstration project for carbon mineralization.
Many mines produce waste capable of storing CO2 but passive fixation rates from the atmosphere are generally slow (50,000 tonnes CO2 per year or less per mine site). By increasing the level of CO2 in gas streams, the research team can accelerate mineralization in hard rock mine waste and tailings. The team projects that direct capture at remote mine sites could lead to carbon fixation rates of ~0.25 million tonnes CO2 per year at a large mine, while coupling industrial CO2 streams proximal to more accessible mine sites could lead to carbon fixation rates of ~1 million tonnes per year at a single site.
A comparative life cycle assessment of three technologies: post-combustion and pre-combustion capture and oxyfuel, combined with CO2-EOR and storage
Principal Investigators: Paitoon Tontiwachwuthikul, University of Regina; Christine Chan, University Regina; Malcolm Wilson, Petroleum Technology Research Centre ; Anastassia Manuilova, Saskatchewan Research Council; Darryl Dormuth, National Research Council
Funding: $200,250/2 years
Summary: The environmental effects of three technologies to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel based power plants is the focus of this study. Post-combustion capture, pre-combustion capture, and using oxyfuel technology all require some energy for operation, although the overall goal is to reduce CO2 emissions. In order to provide industry and decision makers with a solid comparison of the environmental performance of these carbon reduction methods, the researchers will use a life-cycle approach to consider all environmental impacts of the technologies, from construction through operation, including energy and raw material consumption, emissions and wastes.