Carbon America, a vertically integrated developer of carbon capture and sequestration technologies and projects, aims to “quickly and safely capture and store as much carbon dioxide as possible.” Moving forward with its mission, Carbon America is beginning groundbreaking testing of its FrostCCTM cryogenic carbon dioxide (CO₂) separation process at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC).

“Cryogenic separation has enormous potential for post-combustion carbon capture from various sources,” said John Carroll, NCCC principal engineer. “Our team is excited to host Carbon America’s field test of its cryogenic technology at the pilot scale here at the National Carbon Capture Center – a first for our facility.”

Managed and operated by Southern Company for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the NCCC is committed to advancing viable and innovative carbon capture technologies. Carbon America’s FrostCC project offers an exceptional opportunity for a collaborative team effort to demonstrate a next-generation cryogenic carbon capture technology in coordination with NETL and DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management

The FrostCC process

Carbon America’s FrostCC cryogenic CO₂ separation technology requires no external refrigerant. The process compresses and expands the flue gas stream with recuperative heat integration, producing a self-refrigerating flue gas. The technology freezes the CO₂ and, importantly, nearly all other emissions in the flue gas. CO₂ is then collected as a liquid product. The process can effectively and efficiently reduce carbon emissions from fossil power plants, cement, pulp and paper, and iron and steel facilities, as well as certain chemical production plants.

The Carbon America team has successfully demonstrated carbon capture on natural gas flue gas with FrostCC at the NCCC. The team is currently further tuning the controls of the system to get to 24/7 continuous carbon capture operation.

“The NCCC has a strong history of working with technology developers to deploy their processes in an industrial setting for the first time. All of Carbon America’s previous testing has occurred at their facilities in Colorado, which limited them to batch operating campaigns,” said John Northington, NCCC Director. “The pilot testing at NCCC will be the first continuous demonstration of both ‘frosting’ of CO2 and collecting it as a liquid. To date, the NCCC has been able to provide our experience with construction, installation and commissioning to support Carbon America.

Carbon America’s objectives for the NCCC field test are:

  • Continuous operations for 1,000 hours
  • Capture capacity at a minimum of 500 tonnes per year, with a maximum of 1,000 tonnes per year
  • Capture rate of up to 99%
  • Test data validating Carbon America’s thermodynamic models of the FrostCC technology to allow confident development of scale-up designs

“Carbon America is excited to be testing our new FrostCCtechnology at the National Carbon Capture Center,” said Miles Abarr, Chief Technology Officer at Carbon America. “Our cryogenic point-source capture system is a low-cost, mass-manufacturing solution with modular, scalable components. FrostCC, which doesn’t use added chemicals or water and is fully electrically driven, can be readily applied to a full range of industries and power plants. The design enables us to drive down capital costs of carbon capture projects to half of what they are today.”

“The prospects of this breakthrough technology inspired Carbon America’s founding and coupled with our ability to deploy full value-chain CCS projects, we’re excited to enable a new solution space in decarbonization,” added Carbon America CEO and Co-Founder Brent Lewis.  “Many of our commercial partners are anxious for this kind of solution.”

Investing in a net-zero future

In an ongoing effort to meet ambitious net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goals by 2050, a new breed of carbon capture companies and technologies are emerging. The FrostCCcryogenic CO₂ separation technology’s reduced energy consumption, high-purity CO₂ output, carbon-negative potential, minimal environmental impact, and scalability make it a compelling option for industries seeking sustainable carbon capture solutions to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

The National Carbon Capture Center engages with teams of third-party developers to evaluate technologies related to point-source capture, CO2 conversion and direct air capture to accelerate their development toward commercialization.