Towards commercial scale postcombustion capture of CO2 with monoethanolamine solvent: Key considerations for solvent management and environmental impacts

Alicia J. Reynolds, T. Vincent Verheyen, Samuel B. Adeloju, Erik Meuleman, Paul Feron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Chemical absorption with aqueous amine solvents is the most advanced technology for postcombustion capture (PCC) of CO2 from coal-fired power stations and a number of pilot scale programs are evaluating novel solvents, optimizing energy efficiency, and validating engineering models. This review demonstrates that the development of commercial scale PCC also requires effective solvent management guidelines to ensure minimization of potential technical and environmental risks. Furthermore, the review reveals that while solvent degradation has been identified as a key source of solvent consumption in laboratory scale studies, it has not been validated at pilot scale. Yet this is crucial as solvent degradation products, such as organic acids, can increase corrosivity and reduce the CO2 absorption capacity of the solvent. It also highlights the need for the development of corrosion and solvent reclamation technologies, as well as strategies to minimize emissions of solvent and degradation products, such as ammonia, aldehydes, nitrosamines and nitramines, to the atmosphere from commercial scale PCC. Inevitably, responsible management of aqueous and solid waste will require more serious consideration. This will ultimately require effective waste management practices validated at pilot scale to minimize the likelihood of adverse human and environmental impacts from commercial scale PCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3643-3654
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 03 Apr 2012


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