Modeling of strippers for CO₂ capture by aqueous amines



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This work evaluates stripper performance for CO₂ capture using seven potential solvent formulations and seven stripper configurations. Equilibrium and rate models were developed in Aspen Custom Modeler (ACM). The temperature approach on the hot side of the cross exchanger was varied between 5 - 10°C. The results show that operating the cross exchanger at a 5°C approach results in 12% energy savings for a 7m MEA rich solution of 0.563 mol/mol Alk and 90% CO₂ removal. For solvents with [Delta]H[subscript abs] < 60 kJ/gmol CO₂, stripping at 30 kPa is more attractive than stripping at 160 kPa. Normal pressure (160 kPa) favors solvents with high heats of desorption. The best solvent and process configuration, matrix with MDEA/PZ, offers 22% and 15% energy savings over the baseline and improved baseline, respectively, with stripping and compression to 10 MPa. The energy requirement for stripping and compression to 10 MPa is about 20 % of the power output from a 500 MW power plant with 90% CO2 removal. Rate model results show that a 'short and fat' stripper requires 7 to 15% less equivalent work than a 'tall and skinny' one. The optimum stripper design could be one that operates between 50% and 80% flood at the bottom. Stripping at 30 kPa and 160 kPa require 230 s and 115 s of effective packing volume to get an equivalent work 4% greater than the minimum. Stripping at 30 kPa with [Delta]T = 5°C was controlled by mass transfer with reaction in the boundary layer and diffusion (88% resistance at the rich end and 71% resistance at the lean end) and mass transfer with equilibrium reactions (84% resistance at the rich end and 74% resistance at the lean end) at 160 kPa. The model was validated with data obtained from pilot plant experiments at the University of Texas with 5m K⁺/2.5m PZ and 6.4m K⁺/1.6m PZ under normal pressure and vacuum conditions using Flexipac AQ Style 20 structured packing. Foaming was experienced during tests. The effective packing height was 5.09m for 5m K⁺/2.5m PZ and 6.47m for 6.4m K⁺/1.6m PZ.