VeloxoTherm Process™

The VeloxoTherm™ process, developed by Inventys, is a direct intensified rapid cycle temperature swing adsorption (i-TSA) process that is largely material agnostic. As new materials are developed, we anticipate the promise of even greater improvements in lowering the cost of carbon capture.

The technology consists of patented architecture of structured adsorbent laminate (spaced sheets), proprietary process cycle design, and a novel rotary mechanical contactor. The process represents a fundamentally different approach employing solid adsorbents and temperature swing adsorption (TSA) processes. The i-TSA process operates orders of magnitude faster than a conventional TSA process.  Inventys’ novel structured adsorbent has patented thermal conductive matrix to enable rapid cycle temperature swing (40°C to 110°C), which is about 40-to-100 times faster compared to conventional TSA.

This approach is tailored specifically to the challenges of CO₂ separation from N₂ for carbon capture from post-combustion dilute flue gas of thermal power plants and industrial plants: large volumes, low pressures, and dilute concentrations. By leveraging the tailored heat and mass transfer properties of structured adsorbent laminate, this advanced technology unlocks the new advanced solid adsorbent materials.  A shorter cyclic process of about 60 seconds, versus 60 minutes, means higher overall throughput and smaller footprint.

 

Advantages of Structured Adsorbents

All the commercial gas separation systems that use sorbents have been used in the process industries since the late 1950s. These systems exclusively use sorbents configured as packed or fluidized beds – small spherical granules of sorbent that are contained in steel vessels.  Conventional temperature swing adsorption and pressure swing adsorption processes are two main adsorptive gas separation processes widely used in gas separation platforms.  These processes cannot provide an economically viable solution for the CO₂ capture challenge due to their high capital and operating costs.

Conventional pressure swing adsorption (PSA) processes using sorbents are not well-suited to atmospheric post-combustion capture of CO₂ due to the energy required to compress the large volume of gases. For industrial processes working at high pressure such as sour gas and syngas purification, membrane-based separation is a viable alternative.

Conventional temperature swing adsorption (TSA) processes are hampered by poor heat & mass transfer properties and result in prohibitively long cycle times and large equipment costs. The conventional sorbents are half a century old and lack the sophistications and exceptional properties required for newly developed materials in CO₂ capture field.

Much of the excitement over carbon capture is due to a new class of materials such as functionalized-silica or metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). These new materials exhibit far sharper temperature and pressure swing absorption and desorption that will allow lower parasitic energy loads and faster kinetic rates. The key challenge of these new sorbent materials is the sensitivity to oxidation, water/steam and CO₂ induced degradation.  The VeloxoTherm™ process, developed by Inventys, is an intensified and rapid cycle temperature swing adsorption (i-TSA) process that is largely material agnostic. As new materials are developed, we anticipate the promise of even greater improvements in lowering the cost of carbon capture.

As shown in Table 1, structured sorbent material provides the following benefits compared to sorption processes using granular material:

  • Low pressure drop in single-and two-phase flow, one to two orders of magnitude lower than in the contactor using granular material;
  • High geometrical (surface) areas per reactor volume, typically 1.5–4 times more than in the contactor with granular material;
  • High utilization of adsorbent, nearly 100%, due to very short diffusion paths within the structured materials;
  • Exceptionally good performance in sorption processes in which selectivity (the affinity of the sorbent for one gas species over another) is impaired by mass-transfer resistances;
  • High heat retention due to the anisotropic heat transfer properties – resistance to heat transfer in the radial direction being substantially greater than the resistance to heat transfer in the axial (gas flow path) direction in the sorbent structure; and
  • Parallel channels are fully separated from each other and, therefore, the only heat transport mechanism is the conductivity through the laminate material.
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Parallel channels are fully separated from each other and, therefore, the only heat transport mechanism is the conductivity through the laminate material.

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High geometrical (surface) areas per reactor volume, typically 1.5–4 times more than in the contactor with granular material;

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Printed spacer dots provide a strong mechanical structure and even channel spacing for the structured adsorbent bed.

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The adsorbent material is coated on to a substrate with carefully selected mechanical properties

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The stacked sheets are contained within an air-tight adsorbent bed housing

Table 1: Key characteristics of structured adsorbent versus granular sorbent material
Sorbent PropertyGranularStructures
Sorbent ConfigurationPacked BedSpaced Sheets
Characterist Dimension(s)0.7 mm0.1 mm
Specific Surface Area [m2/m3]5,40010,000
Mass Transfer Coefficient [s-1]2871629
Superficial Gas Velocity [cm/s]280280
Pressure Drop (Pa)2,000110

Manufacturing & Testing Centre

During the last 10 years, Inventys has invested tens of millions of dollars in developing state-of-the-art solid sorption laboratories with vast capabilities that cover surface chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, rheology, hydrodynamics, cyclic processing, mechanical testing, mechanical sealing, tribology, durability, and contaminants management.  Inventys adsorption labs can measure the thermodynamics and kinetics of adsorption of various sorbents.  These basic properties are then fed into customized dynamic finite element modeling engines to accurately predict the performance of our intensified processes.  We can also test single-bed or multiple-bed arrangements with unattended laboratory-scale VeloxoTherm systems up to 100 kg per day.

Inventys has begun assembly of its pre-commercial production active materials and bed assembly line. The Company’s goal is to design, fabricate, install, and commission the assembly line to produce adsorbent beds for a profitable first commercial plant.  The assembly line process consists of mixing, coating, printing, assembling of beds, and testing for quality control and performance.

Inventys’ first commercial manufacturing line is located at the existing Burnaby facility (BC, Canada). The line has been designed to run 24/7 with the ability to supply beds for approximately a 5,000 TPD plant per year. This first manufacturing line, when at commercial capacity, is expected to be a profit center while serving the needs of research and development in further refining the structured adsorbent bed process.

Inventys plans to roll out production in full capacity to serve the broad commercial market entry by the end of 2020, thereby saving approximately 24 months when transitioning Inventys’ current employees from the pre-commercial line to a full capacity line because of the existing expertise and knowledge of the people currently in place.

Inventys, in partnership with Electricore Inc, created ICS3 to focus on the demonstration, testing, and education of second-generation CO₂ capture technology using advanced solid sorbent materials. The objective of the center is to offer a pathway to move novel solid sorbent materials out of the laboratory and demonstrate them in the real-world conditions of a power or industrial plant and to establish new standards in the characterization of new sorbent materials and performance benchmarking of CO₂ capture processes using optimized rapid cycles.  The planned work is centred on the second-generation carbon capture VeloxoTherm™ technology platform.

Initially, the centre will leverage the state-of-the-art testing facilities of Inventys in Vancouver, BC, Canada; and, subsequently, the National Carbon Capture Centre (NCCC) in Alabama, USA and Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) in Norway.  It is planned that VeloxoTherm demonstration units of 100-to-500 kg per day will be deployed at these testing facilities over the next few years.

The innovation process for the translation of new sorbent materials from the laboratory to market can take 10 to 15 years and is very expensive.  Development of next-generation carbon capture technologies faces the challenge of finding and integrating new sorbent materials at a faster rate.  Inventys has successfully developed a rapid process for technology deployment based on in-tandem dynamic simulations and laboratory testing to mitigate the high-risk components of the technology way in advance of the product deployment. A collaborative approach is needed to improve each step of the innovation chain of new sorbent materials, such as the discovery, synthesis, data and performance assessment, and process design and scale-up with the goal of leveraging these to enable an integrated, end-to-end materials innovation approach or “platform.”

Accelerating and improving this process through international collaborative R&D could result in major breakthroughs for the development and commercialization of a second-generation carbon capture technology and to support the development of the CO₂ marketplace.