Performance and Mechanism of Metal Oxide Catalyst-Aided Amine Solvent Regeneration

Umair H. Bhatti, Sungchan Nam, Sungyoul Park*, Il Hyun Baek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


CO2 capture from flue gas using the amine-based post-combustion technique is costly because of the high energy requirement for solvent regeneration. The addition of catalyst to the regeneration step can overcome this drawback. In this study, we investigate the regeneration performance of CO2-rich MEA solution without and with two solid metal oxide catalysts - ZrO2 and ZnO - within a temperature range of 40-86 °C. The solvent regeneration performance was evaluated in terms of CO2 desorption rate, total amount of desorbed CO2, solvent cyclic capacity, and CO2-lean loadings achieved from the catalytic solutions in comparison with the noncatalytic MEA solution. To understand and support the obtained results BET, NH3-TPD, pyridine-FTIR, and 13C NMR characterization techniques are performed. The obtained results suggest that both catalysts are capable of optimizing the solvent regeneration by desorbing up to 32% greater amounts of CO2, improving the CO2 desorption rate up to 54%, and increasing the solvent cyclic capacity up to 56%. On the basis of the obtained experimental and characterization results, a possible mechanism for metal oxide catalyst-aided MEA regeneration process is proposed. The stabilities of both catalysts are confirmed by 5 cyclic solvent regeneration experiments. Additionally, by studying the CO2 absorption in MEA in the presence of catalyst, it has been investigated if the catalysts induce any undesired activity in the CO2 absorption step. Catalytic regeneration of amine solvent can pace up the construction of large-scale CO2 capture plants by economizing the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12079-12087
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 4 2018


  • Acid sites
  • Catalytic regeneration
  • CO capture
  • MEA
  • Metal oxide
  • Solvent regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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