It is expensive and cumbersome to capture CO2 in most contexts. At the same time, CO2 capture is very energy-intensive, and access to energy as well as cost cost of energy are thus limiting factors in otherwise good projects. EGCC’s intention was to start work on developing a cheaper and simpler way to capture CO2 while generating energy.
The EGCC project was started in 2020 as a project application to Gassnova. In February 2022, the project started. The background for the project idea was that the team saw an opportunity to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions from ships. Syngas from industrial activity was also seen as a potential possibility, as carbon capture is not only very expensive per tonne but requires large amounts of energy. The idea of the project was to theoretically verify whether it would be possible to have a positive energy production and at the same time capture up to 100% of CO2.
Goal of the project
The objective of this project was to come to an understanding of whether it was possible to use a gas engine with different fuels (syngas, NG or LNG) while running the engine in an optimized atmosphere with as high a content of CO2 as possible and using available cold to separate, capture and liquefy CO2.
The project was mainly carried out during COVID-19, so most of the activities were carried out in the form of meetings online. However, we managed to arrange a workshop at SINTEF in Trondheim where all partners were present. We have carried out simulations of how a gas engine from Bergen Engines would work with different mixtures of oxygen and CO2 and how the engine would work if we were to use CO as a combustion gas.
What has the project achieved? Were the goals of the project achieved?
The main objective of the project was to develop the plan for a carbon capture system that generates carbon-neutral energy using industrial synthesis gas (CO) or LNG/NG.
To fulfill this goal, two main activities were planned:
Firstly, to create the basis and boundaries of the project in a design basis and the concepts to be considered in considering the different heat integration concepts.
Secondly, define the limit limits in terms of I/F ratio, charge oxygen concentration, and excess oxygen ratio to adapt an ICE engine to controlled atmosphere (CA) mode using a model of an LNG ICE engine. We used Bergen Engines as a model, which represents the typical engine that works according to the lean concept, same as Jenbacher, which is the engine Eramet prefers. We wanted to validate the engines in conventional air mode (numerical model), and a report on the performance of a CA ICE engine, and finally a proposal on the way forward for the realization of an experimental pilot.
Third, produce a business overview for the concept.
Overall, the project has validated the hypothesis set up at the beginning of the project to some extent, but some areas still need to be investigated further. There is still work to be done to fully understand how engine efficiency can be maintained without being in conventional air mode, but in an optimised CO2/O2 mixture, and how temperatures can be controlled to avoid temperature peaks and exhaust temperatures beyond what the engines can withstand.
The EGCC still needs more research to be verified, and therefore the commercialisation process for the project cannot be initiated at this time. This affects what we can say about the market opportunities in the business overview. We still see great potential for a small footprint carbon capture, energy-generating system, especially now with tighter regulations for both on- and off-shore activities with Fit For 55 and the inclusion of shipping in the ETS coming into place.
The consortium had ambitious goals for the project, and resource constraints have limited the amount of research in this first project.
The project increased our insight into how this can be done, as well as which areas we need to look into. The biggest challenges of running in an oxy combustion mode instead of regular air have been caused by the difference in specific gravity between nitrogen and CO2. In oxy combustion mode, the combustion rate is lowered when the nitrogen is replaced with CO2. The consequence is that the engine power is reduced. Challenges have been ignition, flame speeds, higher engine temperatures etc.
SINTEF recommended running a laboratory test to verify the results that emerged from the simulations. This test can be performed at NTNU’s engine lab. The test needs to be followed by a pilot test. This can be done at TCM Mongstad or at K-Lab at Kårstø.
The initiators continue to work in two areas:
1) Direct capture and liquefaction of CO2 on engines that use synthesis gas as fuel.
2) Larger gas-fired power plants that use natural gas or LNG as a fuel source. This is being worked on together with Bergen Engines
As described in SINTEF’s project report, an acceptable solution may be found without significant changes to the engine that was used as the basis for the simulations. As mentioned above, verification of the results of the project through further laboratory tests and demonstration project is required.
Caseworker in CLIMIT
Ernst Petter Axelsen
firstname.lastname@example.org +47 98 20 86 18