Cranfield University has been awarded funding from UKCCSRC (UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre) to investigate a new technology that could minimise the impact of amine scrubbing technology – a widespread form of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture. 

The Cranfield team, led by Dr Peter Clough, will be working with a team of experienced engineers at Petrofac, a leading services provider to the energy sector. Petrofac designs, builds, manages, and maintains infrastructure for the energy industries and is already supporting projects that are unlocking the potential of new technology for tomorrow’s carbon capture, utilisation, and storage developments. This includes the Acorn project in the North East of Scotland.

Amine scrubbing is a method of chemically capturing CO2 and concentrating it such that it can be utilised or sequestered. It is also poised to be widely deployed in the decarbonisation of industrial and power generation processes to meet global Net Zero targets.

Dr Peter Clough, Lecturer in Energy Engineering at Cranfield University said: “A major challenge of amine scrubbing is amine slip, where some of the amines, used in separating CO2 from flue gases, form aerosols and are released from the top of the absorber tower into the atmosphere. Our research will seek to demonstrate a brand-new concept for preventing the release of these fugitive amines emissions by harnessing the dipole moments* and electronic configuration of the amines to capture the aerosols.”

Jonathan Carpenter, Petrofac Vice President - New Energy Services, said: “We have decades of experience in gas processing, and are excited to deploy this expertise in support of this research project. The project reflects our commitment solving the challenge of reducing emissions and unlocking the new technologies needed to reach Net Zero targets.”

To comply with environmental regulation, stringent emission limits will be imposed on CO2 capture plants for the release of amines. For individual plants, meeting amine emission targets is challenging using existing technology, but may become more challenging when considering multiple CO2 capture plants in a clustered area as this may lead to stricter emission limits. The new technology will minimise amine slip and be essential for the safe implementation of amine scrubbing across industry and enable the UK to decarbonise to meet its net zero target.

Cranfield is one of ten Universities to receive the Flexible Funding 2021 award from UKCCSRC each looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enable new technology development.
* Dipole moment, a measurement of the separation of two opposite electrical charges.


Notes for editors

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been identified as a vital technology for climate mitigation. Many organisations, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) agree that the targets for greenhouse gas emissions, set out in the Paris Agreement, cannot be met without CCS.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.