The level of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere has increased significantly since the beginning of the industrial era. Unless we do something to reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, the world will experience the effects of climate change. Carbon capture, storage and utilization will be an essential part of the decarbonization process for mitigating climate change and could be a path to a low-carbon future. Carbon capture is a technology approach that can remove up to 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The captured carbon dioxide can be transported to a permanent storage (usually deep underground) or recycled for further use via conversion into other substances or products with higher economic value (i.e. synfuel, plastics, concrete) while retaining the carbon neutrality of the production processes. With the development of CCUS technologies, new challenges are also arising for sensor solutions. SICK already has solutions to support carbon capture and CO2 transport applications.
CO2 reporting and accounting
Flow metering will become necessary for fiscal purposes, custody transfer and compliance with future regulatory measurements. For each step of the CCUS network, accurate flow measurement allows for complete and precise reporting and the possibility of billing the captured carbon dioxide collected from different sources, transported via pipelines and stored or reused.
Carbon capture processes require a high degree of efficiency to improve their economic and environmental attractiveness. The measurement of CO2 content after the capture process is essential for control and optimization purposes.
Regardless of the destination of the captured CO2 (storage or utilization), it is important to control the quality of the gas and possible impurities that can have a negative influence on the later steps of the CCUS network and ensure protection of the environment.
SICK solutions for CCUS
Gas flow measurement for transfer and process applications
Carbon dioxide can be captured from different emission sources and then collected and transported via pipelines or ships for further handling steps like storage or utilization. Gas flow measurements are necessary at each transfer point to control the quantity of captured CO2 or the volume stored or transferred to other companies for utilization. Accurate gas metering allows for precise accounting to companies or calculation of CO2 taxes and credits based on regulations. Ultrasonic gas flow meters from SICK provide the reliable and precise data required to operate the CCUS chain. The FLOWSIC600 and FLOWSIC600-XT gas flow meters can take on any challenge – whether used as a stand-alone or system solution – and deliver optimal measurement performance. Gas flow meters from SICK provide the highest rated gas metering accuracy. Thanks to PowerIn Technology™, the FLOWSIC600-XT also ensures that measurements continue to be taken and data is stored even in the event of a power failure. The rugged design provides both fault-free and maintenance free systems. Due to the direct path layout, the signals are not reflected inside the device and are thus not affected by contamination. This results in long-term system stability and accuracy.
Reliable turnkey solution for CO2 metering
The FLOWSKID flow metering system is a full gas flow metering system. It is provided by SICK as a turnkey solution for transfer applications. The system is flexible in design and provides highly accurate measurement data. With FLOWSIC600 or FLOWSIC600-XT gas flow meters as the heart of the metering skid, system reliability can be assured. The metering skid can be customized with instrumentation including gas analyzers, gas chromatographs, and supervisory computers. It is manufactured according to ISO standards and is of the highest quality in line with the latest DIN, ANSI, and ASME standards. This means the system will fulfill local regulations and requirements.
Measurement of the concentration of captured CO2
CO2 is emitted from different industrial processes and can be captured with a dedicated unit placed before the release of the exhaust gas into the atmosphere. To control and optimize the efficiency of the capture process, the GM35 in-situ gas analyzer accurately measures CO2 directly in the gas flow without gas sampling. The reliability, precision and short response time of the GM35 offer a key advantage for efficient control loops. It can also measure H2O as well as temperature and pressure to complete the process control system. Continuous monitoring of CO2 concentration is also important when it comes to transfer for further handling and accounting.
Quality measurement: analysis of CO2 concentration and impurities in the captured CO2 gas matrix
Carbon capture processes produce a high concentrated gas with more than 90% CO2 by volume. However, the gas matrix also contains other components that can be considered as impurities. The measurement of these components is essential prior to later steps like transport, storage or utilization. Of course, some impurities can be corrosive or have an influence on conversion processes. Extractive analyzers from SICK ensure continuous monitoring of multiple components simultaneously with high accuracy to control and optimize CCUS processes. The most suitable analyzer can be selected depending on the application, the measuring conditions and the requested measuring parameters. Hot/wet extractive analyzers are perfect when several components are required, i.e. with a MCS200HW to measure CO2, H2O, HCl, SO2, CO, NOx, NH3 and O2, or a MCS300P HW for higher SO2, HCl or NOx concentrations. The GMS800 cold/dry extractive analyzer can be used for less corrosive applications and when only few components are required.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) control
EU Directive 2003/87/EC, which establishes a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading, requires proof of CO2 emissions of all CO2 sources in a power plant and other plants included within the Directive. The exact emitted concentration of CO2 can be difficult to calculate, which is why measurement in the exhaust duct is a desirable alternative. SICK has developed a unique solution for monitoring CO2 emissions directly and providing the uncertainty certifications for reporting and trading allowances based on the EU regulations. The GHG-Control CEMS solution combines the GM35 NDIR in-situ gas analyzer, the FLOWSIC100 ultrasonic gas flow measuring device, the MEAC GHG data acquisition system as well as engineering services to provide a complete measurement system, thereby eliminating the need for laborious calculation methods and saving time and money.
Success story – LEILAC HeidelbergCement
Pilot plant – LEILAC HeidelbergCement, Belgium
In addition to post combustion capture and oxyfuel technology, direct separation is the third possible option for carbon capture applications in cement plants. As two-thirds of CO2 emission from cement production is generated from limestone itself, indirectly heating the limestone via a special steel reactor helps to separate these emissions from the exhaust gases originating from the combustion process. This creates a non-diluted, gas flow with high CO2 content, which can be then processed further. The pilot plant LEILAC 1 built at the HeidelbergCement plant in Lixhe (Belgium) uses this kind of innovative approach. To ensure optimal process control, SICK’s GM35 in-situ gas analyzer monitors the CO2 concentration after the limestone is processed. Furthermore, SICK’s GM901 and ZIRKOR100 gas analyzers are used to measure the CO and O2 concentrations in a separate duct which transports the combustion gases.