• 0 Coal and gas fired power plants are the main contributors of CO2 emissions. CAPSOL technology offers a competitive solution for the efficient post-combustion CO2 capture. (Public Power Corporation, Agios Dimitrios Power Plant)…
  • 1 CAPSOL incorporates state-of-the-art thermodynamic property prediction and Computer Aided Molecular Design for advanced solvents and blends. (Source : Imperial College - London)…
  • 2 CAPSOL technology utilizes multi-level design and selection of validated solvent-process schemes with optimum economic and controllability features. (Papadopoulos A.I., and P. Seferlis, “A framework for solvent selection based on optimum separation process design and controllability properties”,Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 26, 177-182, 2009.)…
  • 3 CAPSOL aims at optimum design of absorption/desorption equipment and column internals through advanced modelling and experimentation (Kenig, E.Y. (2008), Chem. Eng. Res. Des. 86, Part A, 1059–1072)…
  • 4 CAPSOL aims at sustainable CO2 capture technology through the Environmental Performance Strategy Map (De Benedetto L., Klemeš J., 2009. J. Clean. Prod., 17(10), 900-906)…
  • 5 CAPSOL targets plant level (resources) integration of CO2 emitting and capture plants through total-site and plant-wide optimization analysis (Varbanov, P., Perry, S., Klemeš J.,Smith, R., (2005), Applied Thermal Engineering, 25, 985-1001)…

CAPSOL pilot plant in operation (Universitaet Paderborn)

During the CAPSOL project a pilot plant for the absorption and desorption of CO2 was built at the University of Paderborn.

The pilot plant (Figures 1 to 5) is conceived as a multi-purpose plant. Experiments can be carried out in four operation modes: batch absorption, batch desorption, closed loop and fluid dynamics. In order to enable all four operation modes, the plant comprises two glass columns, one with an inner diameter (ID) of 100 mm and another with an ID of 300 mm. Both columns are about 5 m high, and each column includes a packed section of about 3 m height. The smaller column is to be predominantly used for absorption. Due to the small diameter and consequently considerable wall effects, this column is not suitable for fluid dynamic experiments. In contrast, the bigger column can be used both for desorption and for fluid dynamic experiments. To realize a closed loop mode, both columns are to be linked. The absorption (small) column can be operated at F-factors varying between 1 and 3.5 Pa0,5 and liquid loads between 10 and 60 m3m 2h 1. In desorption mode, the large column is operated with the same liquid loads as the absorption column. In fluid dynamic mode, it can be operated at F-factors varying between 1 and 4 Pa0,5 and liquid loads between 20 and 90 m3m 2h 1. A detailed flow sheet of the plant is given in Figure 6.



Figure 1 - Pilot plant at UPB.

Figure 2 - Columns before Isolation.

Figure 3 - Upper part of the pilot plant with isolation.

Figure 4- Isolated desorption column.

Figure 5 - Gas blowers (a), and the system for CO2 recycling consisting of a vacuum pump, a compressor and a CO2 pressure tank (b).

6 Figure 6 - Process flow sheet of UPB pilot plant.


Before the plant was used to test the new CAPSOL packing and solvent it was validated by performing fluid dynamic and absorption experiments.

Figure 7 shows measured values of the dry pressure drop depending on the F-factor. Measurements at UPB using both columns are compared to measurements at Julius Montz GmbH using a column with an inner diameter of 600 mm. It can be seen that UPB measurements at the bigger column (diameter of 300 mm) agree well with the values by Montz.


Figure 7 - Pressure drop of dry packing: UPB measurements compared to the values of Julius Montz GmbH.

Measurements of the pressure drop of irrigated packing were carried out at liquid loads of 10, 20 and 50 m³m 2h 1. For low liquid loads, our measurements showed good agreement with the values by Montz (see Figure 8). The slight deviation can be explained by the clearly smaller diameter of our column compared to the column at Montz. A higher deviation in Figure 16 at a liquid load of 50 m3m 2h 1 is most likely due to water accumulation in the pressure measuring system resulting in measurement errors.


Figure 8 - Pressure drop of irrigated packing: UPB measurements compared to the values by Montz.

Based on these tests, it can be concluded that the bigger column at UPB is applicable for studying fluid dynamics of different packings.
Additionally, absorption experiments with monoethanolamine were performed. Three experiments A1 to A3 (summarized in Table 1) were carried out with liquid loads of 17 m3m 2h 1 and F-factors of about 1.6 Pa0.5. The solvent was a 14 wt % aqueous MEA solution. The inlet CO2 mole fraction varied between 0.045 and 0.091.

Table 1 - Process conditions of experiments A1 to A3.


Figure 9 shows the gas-phase CO2 concentration profiles and Figure 10 the temperature profiles along the column height. 

Figure 9 - Measured CO2 concentration profiles for experiments A1 to A3.

Figure 10 - Measured temperature profiles for experiments A1 to A3.

As the profiles are showing reasonable trends, we can conclude, that the pilot plant can be used with confidence for thorough experimentation in the field of packing and solvent design

Hüser, N., Kenig, E.Y, A new absorption-desorption pilot plant for CO2 Capture, Chemical Engineering Transactions, Vol. 39, pp 1417-1422, 2014.