Air Products ramps up ‘breakthrough’ CO2 capture process

10 May 2013 19:18  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Air Products and Chemicals (APC) has reached full operational capacity with what the US Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday called a first-time breakthrough technology for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

The project, funded in part by the DOE, involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the product stream of two methane steam reformers at APC’s Port Arthur, Texas, site.

According to the department, the process will capture 90% of the CO2 produced by the reformers, or nearly 1m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

The reformers produce hydrogen in bulk for use at the nearby Valero refinery.

Some of the captured CO2 will be used for enhanced oil recovery, the department said, but the balance will be secured in underground storage facilities.

DOE assistant secretary Christopher Smith said APC’s innovation is the “first-of-a-kind, breakthrough project [that] advances carbon capture, utilisation and storage”.

The development is a breakthrough, he said, because it “demonstrates the potential to safely secure carbon dioxide pollution underground while providing an economic benefit and increasing energy security”.

The captured CO2 will be used to squeeze as much as 3m bbl/year of additional crude from the Hastings oil field located 20 miles south of Houston, Texas, the department said.

The DOE provided $284m (€219m) for the total $431m project. Work began on the project in December 2012.

Speaking at a dedication ceremony at the plant site on Friday, Smith said that in addition to production of otherwise unrecoverable crude oil, APC’s CO2 capture breakthrough “greatly reduces the environmental impacts of our fossil energy use”.

($1 = €0.77)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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