Professor T. Alan Hatton Delivers the 2013 Gregory Botsaris Lecture
Taking Charge of Carbon Capture:
Electrochemical Strategies for Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Monday, April 1, 2013
51 Winthrop Street PM
Followed by Reception
The Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering held the third
Gregory Botsaris Lecture in Chemical and Biological Engineering on Monday
April 1, 2013. The lecture was given by Dr. T. Alan Hatton, Professor of
Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere has
been cited as a primary cause of global climate change and threatens global
public health and welfare. Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is an
effective and important part of CO2 emission abatement
strategies, with the major CCS efforts to date focusing on the removal of
directly from large-scale carbon emitters and storing it in secure geologic
reservoirs. Thermal-swing operations using aqueous base scrubbing followed
by stripping at elevated temperature have been the chemical sorption
processes most investigated over the past two decades for CO2
capture. Considerable quantities of steam and heat are required to release
the CO2 after capture at low temperatures, and substantial
parasitic energy losses result from the need to use excess steam and heat in
order to meet the kinetic requirements of the process.
Electrochemically mediated separations offer a nearly isothermal
alternative to the thermal-swing separation strategies typically used for CO2
capture. The driving force in these systems is supplied by changes in
electrochemical potential to modulate the redox state of an active species
and thereby mediate the complexation of the sorbents with CO2.
These potential swings can be controlled precisely to reduce energy losses.
We will discuss the operational concepts of two different strategies that
exploit the isothermal electrochemical switching of separation conditions,
covering adsorption, absorption and membrane processes for the capture and
release of CO2 from flue gas and other emissions. The underlying
physicochemical thermodynamic and transport behavior of these systems will
be discussed, and an overall assessment of their potential for use in
large-scale applications given.
T. Alan Hatton is the Ralph Landau Professor and Director of the David H.
Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. He obtained his BSc and MSc degrees in Chemical Engineering
at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, and worked at the Council
for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria for three years before
attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to obtain his PhD. His
research interests encompass self-assembly of surfactants and block
copolymers, synthesis and functionalization of magnetic nanoparticles and
metal-organic frameworks for chemical, biological and environmental
separations and catalysis, and the exploitation of stimuli-responsive
materials for chemical and pharmaceutical processing applications, with a
particular current emphasis on electrochemically-mediated operations.