The setup of the Mini Plant consists of a skid with process equipment: absorber (exchange with membranes is possible), desorber, heat exchanger, pump, pipes, CO2 analyzers, flow meters and controller and other small equipment, an automatic data logging/operation system, and a computer (unit). The Mini Plant is located at the TNO lab in Delft and can be relocated to another location. The Mini Plant supports the initial steps, i.e. preparation of the solvents and testing of the solvent stability. The absorption-desorption setup is used to determine the absorption and desorption capacity of CO2 capture solvents. The gas feed system setup is flexible. The setup consists mainly of the absorption and desorption steps that can be operated in continuous operation. Measurement is to be carried out in a standard manner. The gases flowing out of the setup during the absorption or desorption step will be lead to a CO2 analyzer. The gas stream can be analyzed for the remaining CO2 content (after absorption) or desorbed CO2. It is possible to add a nitrogen flow which can be used as a sweep gas during desorption. Installation can be 24/7 continuously operated. The absorber column is divided into 6 sections: sump, 4 packed sections and top with gas sampling. Each of the packed sections has a height of 510 mm, so they can accommodate 3 packing sections (of 170 mm). Each section is connected using flanges. By using this approach, it is very easy to modify the column height (e.g. exchange it for a dedicated glass section for visual inspection), giving more flexibility to the whole Mini Plant. The top section of the absorber has been modified to be able to take isokinetic sampling for aerosol measurements. The gas can be analysed with an impactor or an FTIR, for the analysis of particle size distribution or composition, respectively. The phosphoric acid setup is used for analysis of the CO2 content of the absorption solvents. The principle of this setup is based on boiling phosphoric acid at high concentrations in which the solvent with CO2 is injected. After injection the produced gas is flushed out of the beaker with a known nitrogen flow. The gas stream is analyzed with the CO2 analyzer, where the CO2 content of the system is being measured.
With the Mini Plant it is possible to really demonstrate new solvent types within reasonable timescales. The Mini Plant is equipped with the latest technologies regarding process monitoring and process measurement. Furthermore, the Mini Plant offers good accessibility, user friendly operations and a smart process data collection system. The Mini Plant can also be used for Biogas related research, i.e. for feed gas composition with CO2 concentrations up to 60%.
A variety of analytical equipment is available to determine gas and liquid composition. Modelling tools are available to perform simulations of the underlying separation principles (thermodynamics, kinetics). Software tools are available to perform process design and development (flow sheeting and scale-up) as well as to perform technical and economic evaluations.