Assessment of Thermodynamic Efficiency of Carbon Dioxide Separation in Capture Plants by Using Gas–Liquid Absorption

  • Wojciech M. Budzianowski
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


Typical carbon capture plants include CO2 separation and compression steps. CO2 separation from diluted flue gases may be achieved by using gas-liquid absorption. This process requires work input for e.g. separating CO2 from flue gases and regenerating the CO2 loaded solvent. Hence, CO2 capture plants involving gas-liquid absorption consume a remarkable part of power and thermal energy generated by power plants. By increasing the thermodynamic efficiency of capture plants one can increase the produced power and save fossil fuels. Therefore, this study provides a quantitative assessment of the thermodynamic efficiency of CO2 separation in capture plants. To this aim the minimum work required for CO2 separation and actual work input in realistic carbon capture plants are estimated. The results reveal that for the state-of-the-art MEA solvent the thermodynamic efficiency of the capture plant is about 16%, for state-of-the-art advanced solvent based capture process (ASBCP) is about 25%, while given the progress in developing ASBCPs in near future it may reach about 30%. Additional measures to reduce the energy requirement of the capture plant such as heat pumps are also discussed. This all means that CO2 separation by gas-liquid absorption is still a relatively inefficient process and remarkable potential for further improvements with step change innovations in gas-liquid absorption exist and may be beneficially used for optimising CO2 capture plants.


Heat Pump Selective Catalytic Reduction Work Requirement Minimum Work Thermodynamic Efficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.




Advanced solvent based capture process


Energy, J


Gibbs free energy, J




Molar flow rate, kmol/s


Natural gas combined cycle


Partial pressure of the i-th gas, Pa


Total pressure, Pa


Pulverised coal


Postcombustion capture


Heat, J


Ideal gas constant = 8.314 J/(mol K)


Absolute temperature, K


Reference temperature = 293.15 K


Source temperature = 393.15 K


Work, J


Actual work, J


Minimum work of separation, J

\(y_{i}^{{{\text{CO}}_{2} }}\)

Mole fraction of CO2 in the gas mixture i, –

\(y_{i}^{{{\text{i}} - {\text{CO}}_{2} }}\)

Mole fraction of non-CO2 remainder, −


Thermodynamic efficiency, –


Turbine efficiency = 90%

Subscripts and superscripts


Stream A


Stream B


Stream C









This study has been supported by the members of the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development (RESD) Group (Poland) under the project RESD-RDG03/2016 which is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consulting ServicesWrocławPoland
  2. 2.Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development (RESD) GroupWrocławPoland

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