Cleaner industry with carbon capture - the world’s first low cost industrial scale
Tuticorin Alkali Chemical and Fertilizers Ltd. (TFL), Chennai, India capture 60,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from a coal plant. Using gasketed plate heat exchangers from Alfa Laval and a newly developed chemical solvent, TFL became the world’s first low cost industrial scale carbon capture and utilization (CCU) plant.DATE 2023-11-28
An eco-friendly dual-manufacturing process
Originally opened in 1981, the chemical plant produces ammonium chloride fertilizer at its facilities, using waste CO2 from the neighbouring fertilizer plant. As a producer of soda ash, the 10 MW facility also converts CO2 into this vital ingredient for household cleaners, glass, and other products. Thanks to stringent controls, its soda ash has the highest quality rating in the industry.
“We use CO2 as a raw material for soda ash production. When our previous supplier was no longer able to deliver the quantities we required, we tested several solutions and finally selected this process, which allows us to capture and reuse our own CO2 gas. At this point, we capture 174 tonnes of CO2 per day, or approximately 60,000 tonnes per year.”
Transition to CCU generates energy savings and reduced costs
Faced with the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions to the levels required by the Paris Agreement, heavy industries are embracing CCU technology at an ever-increasing rate. Most commonly, CO2 is removed from flue gases and process streams using a solvent-based absorption/stripping system, which requires several cooling, heating, condensing, and reboiling steps – all of which use large quantities of energy.
Alfa Laval’s broad portfolio of highly efficient gasketed plate heat exchangers (GPHEs) are designed to meet the energy-intensive demands of CCU applications. The plate heat exchangers are saving energy, reducing costs, making the process more compact and commercially viable, as depicted in the illustration below.
A cleaner solvent for a sustainable process
Compared with amine, the chemical most used in carbon capture processes, the solvent the chemical plant works with is more efficient, less expensive, and less corrosive. A 5-month pilot test in Norway showed that it captured more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2, while demonstrating solvent emissions of only parts per billion, compared with parts per million for traditional solvents. Aerosol emissions were 80 % lower than the permissible limit.
Adding to the benefits of this technology, Alfa Laval’s gasketed plate heat exchangers are engineered for superior reliability and performance under challenging conditions, while requiring less energy and space. They offer significantly higher thermal efficiency than traditional shell-and-tube solutions, in a compact design that is easy to install and service, making them a perfect fit for these installations.
Making CO2 capture more efficient
In addition to highly efficient heat exchangers, Alfa Laval offers the broadest range of gaskets on the market, capable of withstanding the solvents used in the absorption process. Alfa Laval solutions minimize the need for energy and cooling water, while simultaneously maximizing the efficiency of the CO2 capture, and reducing the cost of running other processing equipment.
174 tonnes of CO2 per day, or approximately 60,000 tonnes per year.
50 % reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional solvents.
The world’s first low-cost industrial CCU plant.
Alfa Laval GPHE
The plant uses six medium-sized Alfa Laval Gasketed Plate Heat exchangers, in the following positions:
- Direct circulation cooler (DCC)
- Interstage cooler
- Lean/reach amine interchanger
- Lean solvent cooler
- Water wash circulation cooler
- Gas cooler