logo

Recovery

Recovery, Processing and Capture

  • Resource extraction and processing are energy intensive operations which create significant carbon emissions. CMC scientists are working to reduce the amount of energy consumed in these processes, thereby reducing the amount of CO2 produced. Research in this theme also examines ways to more effectively and economically capture carbon in power and material process plants.

    Theme A research examines how better use can be made of energy resources and waste materials. Key is the need to significantly reduce fossil fuel and energy use in industrial processes. Some projects in this theme are studying ways that CO2 can be economically captured from industrial processes such as cement operations and coal-fired power plants.

    Projects in Theme A are chosen for their potential to be game-changing and for their relevance to long-term Canadian needs. They also have links to, or the potential to link with, Canadian industry.

    Dr. John GraceTheme A Lead: Dr. John Grace

    Professor and Canada Research Chair in Clean
    Energy Processes
    University of British Columbia

    Dr. John Grace is Director of the Fluidization Research Centre which conducts fundamental and applied research on fluidized bed reactors, their modeling and/or applications. Dr. Grace’s primary research interests are concerned with fluidized bed reactors and related multi-phase systems. He has investigated a wide range of problems which are fundamental in nature, but which have practical application. Applications studied include fluidized bed combustion and gasification of biomass and coal, a novel process for steam reforming of natural gas to make pure hydrogen, greenhouse gas mitigation, thermal energy storage and drying of wood wafers.

    Dr. Grace is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Chemical Institute of Canada, Engineering Institute of Canada and Royal Society of Canada. He has a D.Sc. (Hon) and B.E.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge University.

  • A01 Integrated fluidized bed gasification and looping CO2 capture

    Principal Investigators:

    Naoko Ellis, UBC; Nader Mahinpey, UCalgary; Edward Anthony, Natural Resources Canada; Hugo de Lasa, UWO; John Grace, UBC; Serge Kaliaguine, Université Laval; Jim Lim, UBC; Arturo Macchi, UOttawa

    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.

    Go To Top

    A02 Fluidized bed gasification of low-grade coals and petcoke

    Principal Investigators:

    Josephine Hill, UCalgary; Todd Pugsley, USask; Paul Watkinson, UBC; Charles Mims, UToronto; Jamal Chaouki, Polytechnique de Montréal; Rajender Gupta, UAlberta; Ray Spiteri, USask; Nader Mahinpey, UCalgary

    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.

    Go To Top

    A03 Rapid routes to carbon-efficient recovery of bitumen and heavy oil

    Principal Investigators:

    Ian Gates, UCalgary; Steve Larter, UCalgary

    Summary:

    To be sustainable, we need to design oil sands recovery processes where the objective is not only a high recovery factor and maximized economics, but one where reduced carbon emissions are included as a process design element. We must do this quickly if climate change imperatives are to be met. Research will (i) analyze major CO2 emission sources from existing thermal bitumen recovery processes and identify carbon intensity reduction targets; (ii) establish routes to quickly reduced carbon emissions in existing processes through integrated fluids and reservoir characterization, multi-well control algorithms and injection strategies for preconditioning reservoirs; and (iii) evaluate routes to novel zero or neutral carbon emissions processes.

    Go To Top

    A04 Development of direct air capture technology

    Principal Investigators:

    David Keith, UCalgary; John Grace, UBC; Jim Lim, UBC; Edward Anthony, Natural Resources Canada

    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.

    Go To Top

    A05 Hydrogen production and waste processing

    Principal Investigators:

    Pedro Pereira Almao, UCalgary

    Summary:

    Heavy polar hydrocarbons make bitumen upgrading challenging and costly, as well as a significant source of CO2 emissions. This research proposes to separate the most unstable heavy polar hydrocarbons by adsorbing them onto a solid adsorbent-catalyst. These selectively separated hydrocarbon compounds would then be used to produce hydrogen via catalytic steam gasification, which is different than conventional gasification and would operate at significantly lower temperatures. This way, hydrogen would come from the most difficult to process asphaltenes and rather than natural gas, a clean fuel that could better be used for heat and power in order to displace coal.

    Go To Top

    A211 Material development and optimization for zero CO2 emission energy production

    Principal Investigators:

    Abdelhamid Sayari, UOttawa; Viola Birss, UCalgary; Venkataraman Thangadurai, UCalgary

    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.

    Go To Top

    A221 Designing easy-release CO2 capture sorbents at the molecular level

    Principal Investigators:

    George Shimizu, UCalgary; Tom Woo, UOttawa

    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.

    Go To Top

    A238 CO2 microbubbles — A safe and secure technique for increased sequestration and EOR potential into oil/gas reservoirs

    Principal Investigators:

    Japan J.Trivedi, UAlberta; Ergun Kuru, UAlberta; Phillip Choi, UAlberta; Mingzhe Dong, UCalgary

    Summary:

    Researchers are collaborating to design a novel technique to use CO2 “microbubbles” as a means of combining CO2 capture and storage with enhanced oil recovery. The ultimate goal is to create stable microbubbles which, when injected into hydrocarbon reservoirs, would not only displace oil, but would also gently fill up pores and fractures in the reservoir to securely sequester CO2. The CO2 microbubbles will minimize the chance of leakage while storing CO2 in geological formations. The team will experiment with ultrasound and mechanical high speed mixing to create polymer-encased gas microbubbles, and will use microscopy and other imaging techniques to see how well the microbubbles block pores in reservoir rock.

    A239 Development and techno-economic assessment of high performance amine impregnated solid sorbents for post combustion CO2 capture

    Principal Investigators:

    Rajender Gupta, UAlberta; Weixing Chen, UAlberta; Zaher Hashisho, UAlberta; Steve Kuznicki, UAlberta; Partha Sarkar, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures

    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.

    A346 Pre & post-combustion CO2 capture using novel composite CaO/CuO sorbents

    Principal Investigators:

    Arturo Macchi, U of Ottawa; Edward Anthony, U of Ottawa; Poupak Mehrani, U of Ottawa; Josephine Hill, U of Calgary; Robert Legros, École Polytechnique de Montréal; Gregory Patience, École Polytechnique de Montréal

    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. This technology can be applied to thermal power stations and related industries.

    Go To Top