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Carbon Capture

When the Chemical Engineering Group at Imperial College London decided to build a carbon capture pilot plant they partnered with ABB to produce the most advanced state-of-the-art facility that money could buy. The facility attracts chemical engineers and undergraduates from around the world, allowing them to experiment and train safely on an industrial-standard process plant.

As a partner company, Charter Tech was invited to provide the carbon capture control strategies and visualisation functions using one of industry’s most advanced control platforms available, System 800xA. Over 250 separate process instruments provide real-time feedback on flow, temperature, pressure, level, pH and CO2 levels. This data is fed to the control system via several different communications protocols, including Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus DP, Profibus PA, and Wireless HART, where it is then shown as part of the real-time process display on dual extended operator workplaces (EOWs).

Using the latest wireless technology operators are also able to display graphic and real-time data on Tablets and other mobile devices, whilst outside of the control room and roaming around the plant.

Virtualized, redundant servers take care of real-time data collection and separate historians ensure that valuable experimental data isn’t lost from one experiment to the next.

Abb carbon capture control room ipad

Emergency handling
With so many chemical engineers and students working around the pilot plant it is imperative that safety functions are managed correctly. Our TUV certified functional safety professional engineers have integrated a redundant 800HI package into the overall scheme. This independently takes executive action and shuts down the plant well before a dangerous condition occurs.
Examples of specific alarms include:

  • Asphyxiation caused by leaking CO2 and N2 gases

  • Dangerously high or low levels in the stripper and scrubber columns

  • Excessive pressure in the columns

  • Overheating in coolers, heaters and columns

Carbon capture control panel

Imperial’s pilot plant will be used to run hundreds of different scenarios and experiments in the coming years, calling for a highly adaptive setup which can be readily adjusted to produce the conditions needed. This adaptability is well met by the strategies and configurability of the 800xA platform.

Carbon separation
The pilot plant uses a chemical solvent of mono-ethanol amine (MEA) to first absorb and then assist in the separating out of the carbon dioxide (CO2). For maximum process efficiency, the absorber and regenerator towers have to be maintained at steady temperatures of 45 degC +-2 and 115 degC +-2 respectively. The flow rate of the MEA to the absorber tower also needs to be carefully controlled in order to control the rate of CO2 absorption. With all plant equipment being connected to the System 800xA control system, operators are able to easily adjust device settings to experiment with different scenarios.

Complete integration
The system products integrated include:

  • System 800xA DCS

  • 800HI SIL3 integrated shutdown system

  • Extended operator workplaces (EOWs)

  • Pressure and differential pressure transmitters

  • Temperature transmitters

  • Swirl, Vortex and electromagnetic flowmeters

  • Coriolis mass flow meters

  • Level measurement

  • pH and CO2 gas analysers

  • Smart valve positioners

  • Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs)

  • Variable Speed Drives (VSDs)

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