Honeywell, UT-Austin Join on New Carbon Capture Technology

A leading company in the design of technology for a variety of industries is part of an effort to advance carbon capture from power plants, along with providing a solution to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial facilities.

Honeywell, the Charlotte, N.C.-based conglomerate known for products from residential thermostats to advanced aerospace applications, on Dec. 15 announced a licensing agreement with the Texas Carbon Management Program Group (TxCMP) at the University of Texas-Austin. The groups are working on an advanced solvent technology that will capture CO2 generated from combustion flue gases at coal-,  natural gas-, and oil-fired power plants, as well as from steel and cement manufacturing sites and other industrial facilities.

“As the world proactively seeks technology solutions that limit greenhouse gas emissions, we recognize that carbon capture technology is an important lever available today to reduce emissions in carbon-intensive industries that have few alternative options, such as steel plants and fossil fuel power plants,” said Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “By working with UT-Austin, our advanced solvent carbon capture system will enable lower cost of CO2 captured post-combustion.”

Honeywell already has committed to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations and facilities by 2035. The company on Wednesday said this new carbon capture technology builds on Honeywell’s “track record of sharply reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of its operations and facilities as well as its decades-long history of innovation to help its customers meet their environmental and social goals.” The company said about half of its new product introduction research and development investment is directed toward products that improve environmental and social outcomes for customers.

Expanding Carbon Capture Portfolio

The licensing arrangement with UT-Austin expands Honeywell’s carbon capture technology portfolio. The company said about 15 million tons of CO2 annually is being captured and used in storage/utilization applications through Honeywell’s CO2 Solutions process expertise. The company today said it has the capacity to capture 40 million tons per year of CO2 through its installed projects worldwide.

Honeywell on Wednesday said it will leverage UT-Austin’s proprietary advanced solvent technology to create the new product, which it said will provide industries with an additional tool to help meet regulatory requirements and sustainability goals.

The groups said UT-Austin’s patented solution “utilizes an advanced solvent, which enables carbon dioxide to be captured at a lower cost through greater efficiency using smaller equipment, creating viable project economics today under current CO2 policy frameworks in North America and Europe.” The groups said that a for a 650-MW power plant, “applying advanced solvent carbon-capture technology would enable the capture of about 3.4 million tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to removing nearly 735,000 cars from the road each year.”

Owens told POWER, “We are not disclosing the name or properties of the solvent,” adding “the process technology is being marketed as Advanced Solvent Carbon Capture [ASCC].”

Power Sector a ‘Key Application’

Owens said, “The power sector is a key application for this technology,” and added that the “carbon capture technology is a ready-now solution for fossil fuel power plants to reduce the CO2 emissions of their plants. Combining the 20 years of research, development, and large-scale pilot plant testing of this technology from UT-Austin with the process design and commercial scale-up experience of Honeywell provides an effective lever for power plants and other ‘hard to abate’ industries to reduce their CO2 emissions.”    

Honeywell and UT-Austin officials said the new technology can be retrofitted within existing plants, or included as part of a new installation. In this process, carbon dioxide is absorbed into an amine solvent and then sent to a stripper where the CO2 is separated from the solvent. This CO2 is then compressed for geological sequestration or used for other purposes.

“Honeywell’s objective and business model is to provide an alternative solution to power plants to lower their CO2 emissions,” said Owens. “Once captured, the CO2 can be used in today’s applications [such as for enhanced oil recovery or for fertilizer production], or in merchant applications [for example to the food and beverage industry], or used for permanent geological storage. We are in the exploratory stage for other utilization and CO2 sink applications.  Each project will evaluate these markets as part of project development while deciding to use the CO2 for utilization or for storage.”

Owens added: “Honeywell’s solution is able to produce the CO2 at high purity [>99.5%], and in gas or dense phase suitable for transport via pipeline or ship, or in utilization applications.” 

‘Decades of Research’

UT-Austin has focused on carbon capture research for more than two decades through its TxCMP project, led by Gary Rochelle, professor at the McKetta Dept. of Chemical Engineering at the university. Rochelle’s team has established “an efficient, second-generation amine scrubbing system through years of research and analysis,” the groups said in a news release.

“We are thrilled that our decades of research have led to carbon capture technology that can significantly reduce carbon emissions,” Rochelle said. “The licensing agreement with Honeywell enables us to commercially scale this in ways that can make major contributions toward zero-emission efforts to address global warming and to reduce pollutants in surrounding communities.”

Costs for the research and development of the technology were not disclosed, though Owens noted that “the deployment cost of this technology is highly dependent on project-specific considerations, including regional construction costs and utility costs, size of unit, available plot space and site considerations and CO2 capture targets. [Honeywell] will work directly with customers on specific projects to provide inputs into project development, including technology performance as well as cost estimates.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) last year said carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects worldwide were capturing and either storing or using 40 million metric tons annually of CO2. IEA has said that in order to align with the group’s Sustainable Development Scenario, which demonstrates a pathway to limit global temperature rise by less than 1.65C, CCUS project capacity must increase more than 20 times to enable capture of 840 million metric tons per year of CO2 by 2030.

 —Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).


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