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Chemical absorption (ammonia)


Technology Description

Chemical absorption of CO2 is a common process operation based on the reaction between CO2 and a chemical solvent (e.g. amine-based). The CO2 is released at temperatures typically in the range 120 °C to 150 °C and the solvent is regenerated for further operation. This capture technology is widely used commercially as part of the SMR hydrogen production process, capturing concentrated streams of process emissions, with multiple commercial plants in operation capturing CO2 for use, often for urea or storing captured CO2 via EOR (TRL 11). Only two known ammonia plants are capturing dilute emissions for use (TRL 9 for CCU), CO2 capture is also being applied to the dilute CO2 stream from fuel combustion for heat provision. Two known ammonia plants are capturing dilute emissions for use (TRL 9 for CCU). No known ammonia plants are capturing dilute emissions for permanent storage, although based on other related experience there would be no major technology hurdles to overcome (TRL 8 for full CCS chain).

Relevance for Net Zero

Applying chemical absorption-based CO2 capture to ammonia production could enable capture of a higher proportion of plant emissions (by also capturing emissions from smaller process units) than physical absorption. However, physical absorption-based Carbon Dioxide Capture is likely less expensive, already being commercially applied, and captures a considerable portion of emissions, so deployment of chemical absorption may be less crucial.

Key Countries

Malaysia, Japan, India, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Viet Nam, China, United Kingdom, Norway

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