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Joule · 2018

A Process for Capturing CO₂ from the Atmosphere

David W. Keith, Geoffrey Holmes, David St. Angelo, Kenton Heidel

We describe a process for capturing CO₂ from the atmosphere in an industrial plant. The design captures ~1 Mt-CO₂/year in a continuous process using an aqueous KOH sorbent coupled to a calcium caustic recovery loop. We describe the design rationale, summarize performance of the major unit operations, and provide a capital cost breakdown developed with an independent consulting engineering firm. We report results from a pilot plant that provides data on performance of the major unit operations. We summarize the energy and material balance computed using an Aspen process simulation. When CO₂ is delivered at 15 MPa, the design requires either 8.81 GJ of natural gas, or 5.25 GJ of gas and 366 kWhr of electricity, per ton of CO₂ captured. Depending on financial assumptions, energy costs, and the specific choice of inputs and outputs, the levelized cost per ton CO₂ captured from the atmosphere ranges from 94 to 232 $/t-CO₂.

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