In ALIGN-CCUS, I am leading Work Package 1, Enabling near-term deployment of integrated facilities and cluster development. The capture part of the whole CCUS chain is the most cost-intensive part and so major research and development efforts over the last 20 years have been put on cost reduction. However, as larger demonstration projects have emerged recently, operational issues and concerns are also being addressed. Specifically, this concerns environmental benign and flexible operation - especially amine-based absorption systems, which represent the most mature technology for CO2 capture but may imply some environmental challenges. Our work is focused mainly on cost reduction, but issues related to emission countermeasures, solvent management and the need for solvent make-up, efficient control systems to cope with flexible operation and cost-efficient concept design are being addressed. As a research scientist, I have been working with CO2 capture since 1998 and, though I have worked with all three major types of capture technologies – namely, post-, pre-, and oxyfuel combustion – I have mostly focused, since 2007, on post-combustion capture with an emphasis on absorption-based separation. My work is mostly related to concept development, benchmarking and dynamic modelling and simulation. The latter is important for advanced process control and flexible operation.
By realising that focusing only on cost reduction in CO2 capture is not enough for the deployment of CCS, it is indeed motivating to work as part of the ALIGN-CCUS project, which has the overall goal to accelerate the deployment of full CCS and CCUS chains in Europe. By coordinating the work along the whole chain, looking at specific industrial clusters in Europe, it is easier to identify and establish tailor-made systems, which will also contribute to increasing public awareness, knowledge and acceptance of CCS and CCUS as climate protection measures.