What are CO2 Absorber Vessels?

June 28, 2017

Ammonia synthesis plants cover one end of an industrial park. Over in another corner, there's a chemical processing facility. It overlooks the coast, so you can see all the way down to the oil refinery that's being built over there. As you can see from all of these giant facilities, chemical processing technology exists everywhere. Among those meticulously engineered processing systems, CO2 absorber vessels are at work, but what exactly is their role in these systems?

What are CO2 Absorber Vessels?

Basically, these containment units capture carbon dioxide. If a flue gas stream contains substantial quantities of CO2 (carbon dioxide), the feed stream is funneled up through the vessel, at which point it reacts chemically with a special solvent. As one example, potassium carbonate is used to strip the CO2 from the gas stream, then several additional catalysing events take place as the hot solvent captures the unwanted gas and transforms it into pure CO2.

Deconstructing the Containment Technology

High-pressure stages and low-pressure chambers combine with solvent reservoirs to process the gaseous feed. A pressure differential builds between the stripping section and the absorber components, so the interior architecture within the unit must resist pressure transients, high temperatures, and all kinds of corrosive solvents. Now, small carbon dioxide vessels are used in life support systems, with their chemically-loaded interiors scrubbing CO2 from breathable air, but the equipment referenced here is built for applications that scrub much larger volumes of gas.

Dirty Gas Stream Applications

Any massive application that produces large volumes of carbon dioxide will benefit from the addition of a CO2 absorber vessel. A large coal-fueled power station is an obvious candidate here, as is a CO2 scrubbing unit inside an ammonia production plant. Otherwise, the greenhouse gas would float upward, unfettered and free to further corrupt the environment on a global scale. Installed at a flue output section, the CO2 scrubber uses its solvent-resistant innards to separate that greenhouse gas from feed streams and byproduct currents, then the cleaned gaseous remnants are further processed, recycled, or released. Incidentally, the recovered CO2 can be contained and sold for some other application.

Curiously, there are examples of CO2 scrubbers on submarines, spacecraft, and many other places where life support systems are required. However, the industrial strength processing equipment you've seen here adopts a somewhat more active solution, one that requires pressure vessels to endure when caustic solvents, high temperatures and higher pressure differentials are part of the process mix.

Contact Details

Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619

1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915

Ph: (03) 5909 8218

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