The challenges of carbon capture for refineries

11 August 2022

Capturing carbon emissions from refineries is a priority given they are among the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses globally. But many challenges have historically made deploying carbon capture difficult.

Watch this video where Richard Merrells, Vice President of Project Delivery at Carbon Clean, explains the challenges of carbon capture for refineries and how technology, like CycloneCC, is helping refineries overcome their unique challenges to reduce emissions.


What are the challenges of carbon capture for refineries?

Refineries face many unique carbon capture challenges. These include limited space, multiple emission point sources, remote locations and the need to continuously operate. Previously, cost and space requirements have deterred many from moving ahead with carbon capture deployment. 

How do multiple point sources make implementing carbon capture technology difficult?

Refineries have several units that emit CO2, including steam methane reformers that produce hydrogen, catalytic crackers and combined Heat and Power (CHP) units. The exact sources may vary from plant to plant. An effective solution must be adaptable for the configuration of every site. The solvent and RPB combination coupled with the modularity of our breakthrough CycloneCC solution mean that the versatile technology can be applied at multiple point sources throughout a refinery.

What technologies are available to reduce refinery emissions?

Carbon capture technology gives refineries a solution that is both efficient and affordable. The technologies allow emitters to capture CO2 before it is emitted into the atmosphere, reducing emissions and helping refineries comply with regulations

Why haven’t conventional technologies been effective?

Refineries operate within traditionally narrow margins in compact facilities, often in remote areas, where every metre of space is optimised, safety is paramount, and limited downtime is critical. The industry needs a carbon capture solution that can work within these parameters — something conventional technologies have not been able to offer.

How does CycloneCC solve the challenges refineries face?

One of the main challenges refineries face is space. The physical footprint of CycloneCC is more than 50% smaller than conventional carbon capture technology. It is built on a pre-fabricated skid mount and is delivered ready to install with the potential to be operational in less than eight weeks, avoiding a lengthy and complex design, build and engineering process. 

Another significant challenge is the need for refineries to continuously operate. CycloneCC’s set up can be timed to occur within planned outages to accommodate refineries schedules and prevent downtime. The process is also simplified by its compact size and quicker streamlined installation. 

Learn more about our breakthrough carbon capture solution for refineries by downloading our latest refineries eBook:

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