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(722c) Process Optimization of Ion Exchange Processes for CO2 Mineralization Utilizing Industrial Waste Streams

Ragipani, R., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Prentice, D., UCLA
Wang, B., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sant, G., University of California, Los Angeles
Large coal-fired power plants (>500 MW) account for 30% of global CO2 emissions, and long-term management of this CO2 to is urgently needed mitigate global temperature increases. Sequestration of CO2 within stable mineral carbonates (e.g., CaCO3) represents an attractive emission reduction strategy because it offers a leakage-free alternative to geological storage of CO2 in an environmentally friendly form. We have previously described a mineralization process in which divalent cations are sourced from various waste streams (e.g., produced water and brackish water) and alkalinity is induced via regenerable ion-exchange materials (Bustillos et. al. Frontiers in Energy Research. 2020, 8, 352). In our process, aqueous carbonate-bearing streams with pH > 8 are produced by contacting fresh water and carbon dioxide with various ion-exchange materials (e.g., Na form zeolites or ion exchange resins). These streams are mixed with produced water containing varying concentrations (~0.01 – 1.0 M) of Ca2+ leading to the precipitation of solid calcium carbonate (PCC). This process has the advantages of using regenerable solids in a simple and continuous process to increase the pH of water by ion exchange instead of relying on the consumption of costly and unsustainable sources of alkalinity (e.g., sodium hydroxide). While once-through column experiments showed the above benefits, the same were yet to established in a steady-state process with recycle streams. In this work, we set up a process simulation to quantify the energy requirements and CO2 emissions associated with the process and seek optimal produced water compositions and CO2 concentrations (5 – 20 vol%).

The process simulation was set up in ASPEN Plus using eRNTL as the thermodynamic property method and sequential modular strategy. Ion exchange alkaline solution was simulated using sodium hydroxide and validated against the experimental data obtained from once-through kinetic experiments. Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membrane steps were also implemented for the separation of divalent cations and production of fresh water and a regeneration stream following mineralization. Sensitivity analysis was carried out using a range of produced water compositions (0.01 – 1.0 M Ca2+, 0.001 – 0.15 M Mg2+, 0.5 – 3.5 M Na+ and 0.0004 – 0.002 M Fe2+) according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) database.

Calcium carbonate yields increased with increasing CO2 concentrations and were maximized using produced water compositions with larger Ca2+ concentrations. Maximum calcium carbonate yields produced at 5 vol%, 12 vol% and 20 vol% CO2 were 2.3 mmol/L, 5.5 mmol/L, and 9.3 mmol/L, respectively, with the formation of brucite (a magnesium hydroxide phase, Mg(OH)2) and goethite (an iron hydroxide phase, FeOOH) as the primary contaminant phases (99% calcite, 0.6% brucite, 0.4% goethite), which agree with phases detected by XRD experimentally. These results indicate high purity calcium carbonate can be precipitated using industrial waste streams.

Consequentially, energy consumption and net CO­2 emissions were minimized where precipitated calcium carbonate was maximized for all produced water compositions and CO2 concentrations. Minimum energy consumptions were 0.21 kWh/ton CO2 processed, with 98% of the energy input required coming from the membrane filtration steps. Produced water compositions with large Na+ concentrations (> 0.5 M) were effective at reducing energy consumptions due to faster regeneration time of ion exchange materials. Additionally, calculated net CO2 emissions were negative for the process and ranged from -0.02 kg/ton CO2 to -0.15 kg/ton CO2 processed, indicating a low emission process. We will also present techno-economic assessment showing the economic benefits of the current process as an alternative to the addition of stoichiometric bases to induce alkalinity for the precipitation of CaCO3.