Describe your membrane technology for carbon capture. How does it work?
Our technology is based on hollow fiber membrane contactor reactors, similar to technology used for water treatment and pharmaceuticals. Our key innovation is to apply our patented nano porous membrane technology to post combustion carbon capture. Our nano porous material acts like a giant sponge to soak up the carbon dioxide from the exhaust. Once we have captured the carbon dioxide, we can then sequester it permanently underground or convert it to a useful byproduct.
When was this technology developed? How long has it been in the works?
We started developing the technology in 2010 with funding from the National Research Council Canada in co-operation with the University of Waterloo. We were also a recipient of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) award in 2015 that helped to scale up our technology.
How is it different from conventional methods? What are its advantages?
Conventional carbon capture technology is based upon packed bed technology that is more than seventy years old. Ionada brings disruptive innovative membrane technology to carbon capture, reducing equipment size by 50% and increasing energy efficiency by 30%.
How does your technology compare in cost to alternatives?
Our technology is very cost effective in small to mid-size applications, less than 100 MW, such as natural gas compressor stations and Once Through Steam Generators (OTSGs).
What kinds of CO2 emissions reductions can it achieve?
Our technology can capture 100% of the CO2 emissions from combustion, but we target 85% to 90% CO2 emission reductions to have reasonable equipment size and costs.
What are your target markets?
Our target markets are single point emission locations, industrial sites, waste to energy power plants, chemical plants, marine applications for commercial shipping. We help them achieve net zero carbon emissions.
Where is it at in terms of commercialization?
We are currently in the Pilot Testing and Demonstration Site phase of our development with several pre-FEED and FEED projects underway. We will be ramping up commercialization within the next 18 to 24 months.
How might it be used by the Canadian natural gas industry?
We are very excited to have the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) Industry Grants and NGIF Cleantech Ventures as a strategic partner and investor. NGIF is accelerating our commercialization plans to provide carbon capture technology to the Canadian natural gas industry – helping them to achieve their carbon emission reduction targets.
How does your Carbon Capture technology be used by the natural gas industry?
The OPEX can be divided into three components: Cost of Capture + Cost of Regeneration + Cost of Compression
Cost of Capture is the pump energy required to circulate the lean amines through the membrane contactor and is negligible.
Cost of Regeneration is the pump energy required to circulate the rich amines through the membrane stripper and corresponding losses of amine with the formation of sulfate and nitrates. These losses and corresponding costs are dependent on the quality of the flue gases. They can be normalized to a few dollars per tonne of CO2.
The majority of the costs quoted is the Cost of Compression, the energy required to compress and cool the CO2 for storage and transportation. These costs can be avoided or reduced with pipeline transportation or CCU applications such as methanation.
Can the technology be utilized in other applications in which packed absorber towers are used (e.g. glycol dehydration) or are the advantages unique to CO2 removal?
Yes. The membrane contactor is an alternative to packed absorber towers. In general membrane contactors provide benefit in applications that require higher surface area per unit volume [eg. Marine]. Not competitive for large scale industrial processes where packed beds provide lower capital costs (for example >100,000 TPA Carbon Capture).
How clean does the influent need to be? How do you handle the presence of particulates in the gas stream? What is the pressure drop across the system with clean influent vs droplet/particulate-laden influent?
Sensitivity will depend on the absorbent. For example, Amines are sensitive to nitrogen dioxide and will be considered a contaminant within the influent. Water vapor can be a contaminant for Ionic Liquids.
In general, the membrane contactors are insensitive to particulates. Particulates are a few microns in size and carbon dioxide is 0.00065 microns. Carbon dioxide easily passes through. Backwashing of membranes or cleaning nozzles may be required to avoid excessive build up and hazards.
Pressure drop is controlled by the pitch between membrane tubes.
Low pressure fan < 1,000 Pa may be required to overcome back pressure.