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Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technological solution that can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the use of fossil fuel in power plants and other industries. A leading method today is amine based post-combustion capture, in which 2-aminoethanol (MEA) is one of the most studied absorption solvents. In this process, amines are released to the atmosphere through evaporation and entrainment from the CO2 absorber column. Modelling is a key instrument for simulating the atmospheric dispersion and chemical transformation of MEA, and for projections of ground-level air concentrations and deposition rates. In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting model inline coupled with chemistry, WRF-Chem, was applied to quantify the impact of using a comprehensive MEA photo-oxidation sequence compared to using a simplified MEA scheme. Main discrepancies were found for iminoethanol (roughly doubled in the detailed scheme) and 2-nitro aminoethanol, short MEA-nitramine (reduced by factor of two in the detailed scheme). The study indicates that MEA emissions from a full-scale capture plant can modify regional background levels of isocyanic acid. Predicted atmospheric concentrations of isocyanic acid were however below the limit value of 1 ppbv for ambient exposure. The dependence of the formation of hazardous compounds in the OH-initiated oxidation of MEA on ambient level of nitrogen oxides (NOx) was studied in a scenario without NOx emissions from a refinery area in the vicinity of the capture plant. Hourly MEA-nitramine peak concentrations higher than 40 pg m(-3) did only occur when NOx mixing ratios were above 2 ppbv. Therefore, the spatial variability and temporal variability of levels of OH and NOx need to be taken into account in the health risk assessment. The health risk due to direct emissions of nitrosamines and nitramines from full-scale CO2 capture should be investigated in future studies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


M Karl, T Svendby, S-E Walker, A S Velken, N Castell, S Solberg. Modelling atmospheric oxidation of 2-aminoethanol (MEA) emitted from post-combustion capture using WRF-Chem. The Science of the total environment. 2015 Sep 15;527-528:185-202

PMID: 25958366

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