Integrated Process of CO2 Capture and Conversion to Alkyl Carbonates

C.B. Panchal, R. Doctor
E3Tec Service, LLC,
United States

Keywords: CO2 capture, CO2 utilization, alkyl carbonates


In the past two centuries, fossil fuel supplied by coal, petroleum and natural gas has played a key role in establishing the modern world economy. When the global demand for electricity increased from 8.3 million GWh in 1980 to 23.8 million GWh in 2014, the resulting annual CO2 emission increased from 5.5 to 13.3 trillion tonnes. The impact of rising CO2 levels on climate change is now taken seriously which has stimulated global action to reduce CO2 emission. The challenges associated with CO2 capture, transport, and storage have been well documented. Consequently, a variety of products and different technology pathways for converting captured CO2 to value-added products are being actively pursued. E3Tec is pursuing DOE SBIR project on utilization of captured CO2 for manufacturing alkyl carbonates. The SBIR project focuses on techno-economic merits of an integrated process of CO2 capture and conversion to alkyl carbonates. Conversion of CO2 to Dimethyl Carbonate (DMC) has favorable economics and hence the technology can be implemented within 5 to 10 years once the techno-economic merits are demonstrated by an industry-scale pilot plant in an operational environment. The global market demands for DMC and its derived alkyl carbonates are rapidly expanding for: a) polycarbonate production; b) as electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries; c) as intermediate in polyurethane production; and d) as environmentally friendly solvent replacing ketone-based solvents. DMC also is being evaluated as an additive to reduce emissions from diesel engines. E3Tec has developed process for conversion of CO2 derived intermediate products, urea and ethylene carbonate, to DMC. E3Tec is now pursuing integration of the DMC process with CO2 capture techniques that are being developed. The integrated process is expected to significantly enhance the economics as well as energy efficiency when compared to separate processes for CO2 capture followed by conversion to products.