Honeywell International Inc. said it will collaborate with the University of Texas at Austin (UT) to commercialize a lower cost carbon capture technology for the power generation and industrial sectors.

CCUS

The project was developed by researchers at UT’s Texas Carbon Management Program (TxCMP). An advanced amine solvent “enables carbon dioxide (CO2) to be captured at a lower cost and with greater efficiency using smaller equipment,” according to Honeywell. The technology offers “viable project economics today under current CO2 policy frameworks in North America and Europe.”

“As the world proactively seeks technology solutions that limit greenhouse gas emissions, we recognize that carbon capture technology is an important decarbonization lever available today to reduce emissions in carbon intensive industries that have few alternative options, such as steel plants and fossil fuel power plants,” said Honeywell’s Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, of the firm’s Sustainable Technology Solutions. “By working with UT Austin, our advanced solvent carbon capture system will enable the lowest cost of CO2 captured post-combustion.”

UT’s Gary Rochelle, who leads TxCMP, said, “our decades of research has led to carbon capture technology that can significantly reduce carbon emissions. The licensing agreement with Honeywell enables us to commercially scale this in ways that can make major contributions towards zero emissions efforts to address global warming and to reduce pollutants in surrounding communities.”

The system takes the CO2 from combustion flue gases, and it is absorbed into an amine solvent and then sent to a stripper where the emissions are separated from the solvent. The CO2 is then compressed for geological sequestration or used for other purposes.

According to Honeywell, the technology “can unlock project economics for ‘hard to abate’ industries such as steel, cement, chemical plants, and coal, natural gas and bio-energy plants.” It also may be retrofitted within existing plants or included as part of a new installation. 

For a typical 685 MW coal-fired power plant, applying the amine scrubbing system would capture 3.4 million tons/year of CO2, equal to removing nearly 735,000 vehicles from the road each year, according to Honeywell. “With thousands of power and industrial plants around the world, the opportunity for significant emissions reduction is enormous,” the firm said. 

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Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects globally are capturing 40 million metric tons/year (mmty) of CO2 currently, Honeywell said, citing International Energy Agency (IEA) data. “In order to align with the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario, which demonstrates a pathway to limit global temperature rise by less than 1.65 decrees C, CCUS project capacity must increase more than 20 times to enable capture of 840 mmty of CO2 by 2030,” the firm added.

Honeywell, for its part, has installed 33 million tons of CO2 capture capacity globally.

The Honeywell-UT partnership comes amid a slew of CCUS project announcements by oil and gas companies such as ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Talos Energy Inc. Numerous large-scale blue hydrogen projects, which entail separating hydrogen from natural gas and capturing the resulting CO2 emissions, are planned for the United States as well. 

The Biden administration, meanwhile, indicated this month that fossil power generation paired with CCUS could help the federal government achieve 100% carbon pollution free electricity consumption by 2030.