Precipitating amino acid solutions

LV van der Ham, ELV Goetheer, E. Sanchez-Fernandez, MRM Abu-Zahra, Thijs Vlugt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aqueous amino acid salt solutions that precipitate due to CO2 absorption are a relatively novel and promising class of solvents. Although the presence of solids in the process stream requires adequate measures related to slurry handling and crystallization control, precipitation also increases the solvent CO2 capacity and the energy performance of the stripper. By using an additional solid–liquid separation step to concentrate the slurry before it is sent to the stripper, known as the DECAB+ process, the energy performance can be further improved. Most of the current experimental work on these systems focuses on the amino acids taurine, α- and β-alanine, sarcosine, glycine, and proline, neutralized with equimolar amounts of potassium hydroxide. Investigated properties include the CO2 concentration at which precipitation is first observed, which is closely related to the solubility of the amino acid, the composition of the precipitate, and the CO2 absorption rate. The precipitate typically contains pure amino acids and/or bicarbonate, depending on the amino acid solubility. Shortcut process simulations have been used to estimate the energy performance of absorption processes using precipitating amino acids, so far focusing on 4M KOH + taurine (K-tau) and 4M KOH + α-alanine (K-α-ala) solutions. Specific regeneration duties below 2 GJ/ton CO2 seem possible for the DECAB+ process when using K-α-ala and lean vapor compressor (LVC). Compared to a conventional process using 30 wt % monoethanolamine and LVC, this corresponds to a reduction of 35% in the regeneration duty. Future research should focus on more-detailed process simulations, based on a predictive thermodynamic model that consistently describes the vapor–liquid–solid equilibria of the system. Demonstration of the DECAB+ process on a pilot scale is also highly recommended, with a special focus on the crystallization and slurry handling process steps and units
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbsorption-Based Post-combustion Capture of Carbon Dioxide
EditorsP.H.M. Feron
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-100514-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameWoodhead Publishing Series in Energy


  • Amino acids
  • Experimental investigation
  • Precipitation
  • Process simulation
  • Roadmap


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