Microwave swing regeneration of aqueous monoethanolamine for post-combustion CO2 capture

Stephen J. McGurk, Claudia F. Martin, Stefano Brandani, Martin B Sweatman (Corresponding Author), Xianfeng Fan (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Post-combustion carbon capture is a key component of the fight against global warming and climate change. Amine stripping is currently the leading post-combustion technology, and indeed is employed at the World’s first and only commercial scale carbon capture project applied to a power plant, at Boundary Dam, Canada. Normally, regeneration of the spent amine solution is achieved by stripping with hot pressurized steam, at around 120-140 °C and 1-2 bar. However, production of these conditions is costly and leads to significant degradation of the amine. Moreover, the size of equipment, and hence capital costs, are also high due to the regeneration timescales involved. Here, we present proof-of-concept laboratory scale experiments to demonstrate the feasibility of regenerating the spent amine solution with microwave irradiation. We show that microwaves can regenerate spent aqueous monoethanolamine solutions quickly and at low temperatures (70-90 oC), potentially reducing overall process costs. By comparing microwave regeneration with conventional thermal regeneration we suggest that, in addition to the usual benefits of microwave heating, microwaves present a special ‘non-thermal’ effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date14 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grants EP/N024672/1, EP/J019720/1 and EP/J019704/1. Andrew MacDonald (University of Edinburgh) is thanked for contributions to some of the experimental work.


  • CO2 capture
  • amine
  • energy
  • microwave
  • absorption kinetics
  • absorption isotherm


Dive into the research topics of 'Microwave swing regeneration of aqueous monoethanolamine for post-combustion CO2 capture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this