GHGT-16 site visits to IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN) and Cimentalgue Project

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By Abdul'Aziz Aliyu

4 November 2022

As the 16th Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies Conference (GHGT-16) in Lyon, France came to a close. Two parallel site visits were embarked on Friday 28 October 2022. The first one was to the Limagne d’Allier basin, close to Clermont-Ferrand where natural CO2 migration through faults into rivers and groundwaters as well as impacts on the local environment was observed. The second site visits were to CO2 capture test facilities in IFPEN complex in Lyon and the CimentAlgue project (VICAT) in Montalieu-Vercieu.

The first leg of the second site visit to the IFPEN (a public research, innovation, and training organisation in the fields of energy, transport, and the environment) focused on the CO2 capture test facilities that include the post-combustion DMX pilot and the chemical looping combustion (CLC) technologies.

A tour of IFPEN’s mini-pilot testing facility in its premises in Solaize was embarked. Dedicated tests can be done upon client’s request with a reconstituted gas to confirm the performance of the process for any new application. The DMX™ process (a patented process stemming from IFPEN’s Research and marketed by Axens) is a second-generation process using a solvent that reduces the energy intensity for carbon capture by nearly 30% as compared to the MEA (Mono ethanol amine) reference process according to the project.1

In May 2019, a consortium of 11 European stakeholders including ArcelorMittal, Axens, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and TotalEnergies launched the 3D project (DMX™ Demonstration in Dunkirk). This project has 3 key objectives as follows:2,3

i.Demonstrate the effectiveness of DMX™ process on an industrial pilot that will capture 0.5 tCO2/hour from steel mill gas by 2022.

ii.Prepare the implementation of a first industrial unit at the ArcelorMittal site in Dunkirk, which could be operational in 2025 and that will capture more than 1 MtCO2 per year (125 tCO2/hour) to be stored in the North Sea geological storage.

iii.Take advantage the planned European Dunkirk North Sea Cluster which should be operational by the year 2035 with more than 10 MtCO2 per year captured and stored in the North Sea geological formation.

A tour of the CLC (oxy-combustion technology used to convert biomass and fossil fuels to obtain a flow of pure CO2 suitable for low-cost capture) plant was also embarked on the IFPEN facilities. The CLC process is the result of 13 years of research conducted by IFPEN and TotalEnergies on a laboratory scale and on a 10 KW pilot unit in IFPEN’s laboratories. The building of a demonstrator on a pre-industrial scale is therefore a very important step that will allow us to verify the performance of this CO2 capture technology and to prepare its implementation in power plants and biomass plants in particular,” said Florence Delprat-Jannaud, CO2 Coordinator, IFPEN.

Learnings from this facility is aimed to go into the CHEERS. A partnership between European participants supported in part by the EU Horizon 2020 program, and Chinese participants, supported by the Chinese R&D support program MOST. The Norwegian research institute SINTEF coordinates activities in the CHEERS consortium from Trondheim, Norway, as well as delivering substantial content in the CHEERS R&D program from both Trondheim and Oslo (Norway).The test campaign, planned for 2023, will bring the new concept to near-commercial maturity (Technology Readiness Level, TRL 7) and form the basis for further upscaling and commercial project development. The ambition of the CHEERS project is to improve the efficacy of CO2 capture in industry, and help ensuring sustainable, secure, and affordable energy. This will be achieved by testing and verifying a 2nd generation chemical-looping technology, first at laboratory scale (150kWth), then developing into a 3MWth system prototype for demonstration in an operational environment.4

The second and final leg of the second visit was to the CimentAlgue industrial research project based on a consortium of Vicat (French international cement group), AlgoSource Technologies, TotalEnergies, the University of Nantes and CAPACITÉS is aimed at harnessing captured CO2 and waste heat sourced from the manufacture of cement to produce microalgae. This innovative process allows the capture of CO2 essential to the development of these organisms and thus contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. Note, microalgae consume 5 to 10 times more CO2 per square meter than terrestrial plants.5The different strains of microalgae tested, such as spirulina in particular, will make it possible to develop products for markets suited to the industrial scale of cement works. The lipids, proteins or sugars that will be extracted can be used as food ingredients for animals, as plant bio-stimulants, or to produce bio-sourced materials, etc. Oil-seed strains with high growth potential will also be tested with the aim of producing third-generation biofuels. The goal of the CimentAlgue project (pictured below) is to achieve microalgae cultivation on a scale of approximately 1 ton of dry microalgae/year and to carry out “life-size trials” on different types of microalgae culture and demonstrate the industrial and economic viability of these culture. 

CimentAlgue demonstrator project in Montalieu-Vercieu, France.

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