Protecting Water Supplies from Nitrosamine and Nitramine Carcinogen Contamination by Carbon Sequestration Operations

Amount of funding: 
100 000
Timespan: 
2010-2012
Principal Investigator: 

Carbon sequestration, the removal of CO2 from combustion exhausts and its geological storage, is one of the major thrusts to reduce global warming. The only cost-effective, and commercially-available technology to remove CO2 from power plant flue gases for carbon sequestration relies on chemicals call amines to bind the CO2. Unfortunately, preliminary research has indicated that nitrogen oxides (NOx) in flue gases react with amines to form potent carcinogens called nitrosamines and nitramines. Preliminary modeling indicates that these carcinogens could be released from the capture plant exhaust at concentrations sufficient to contaminate downwind drinking water supplies.  This research seeks to understand conditions that minimize the formation of these compounds.

Carbon sequestration is one of the major thrusts to reduce global warming. The only cost-effective, commercial technology to remove CO2 from power plant flue gases for carbon sequestration relies on chemicals call amines to bind the CO2. Unfortunately, preliminary research has indicated that nitrogen oxides (NOx) in flue gases react with amines to form potent carcinogens called nitrosamines and nitramines. Preliminary modeling indicates that these carcinogens could be released from the capture plant exhaust at concentrations sufficient to contaminate downwind drinking water supplies. This research seeks to understand conditions that minimize the formation of these compounds.

PUBLICATIONS

Dai N, Shah AD, Hu L, Plewa MJ, McKague B and Mitch WA, Measurement of nitrosamine and nitramine formation from NOx reactions with amines during amine-based carbon dioxide capture for post-combustion carbon sequestration. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012, 46, 9793-9801.

Shah AD, Dai N and Mitch WA, Application of ultraviolet, ozone, and advanced oxidation treatments to washwaters to destroy nitrosamines, nitramines, amines, and aldehydes formed during amine-based carbon capture. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013, 47, 2799-2808.

Dai N and Mitch WA, Influence of amine structure on potential formation of total nitrosamines during carbon capture. In preparation for Environ. Sci. Technol.

PATENTS

A patent was filed on a washwater remediation scheme, under current negotiations for licensing

Three patents pending through Office of Collaborative Research:

Ultraviolet Hydrogen Peroxide or Ozone Treatment to Simultaneously Reduce Nitrosamine, Nitramine, Amine and Aldehyde Emissions from Amine-based Carbon Capture, (applications: 2,828,452, 2012220621 and 14/001,247)

LEVERAGE, 4 grants, totaling $477k

Norwegian Government/Gassnova. Nitramine Analysis Procedures Development and Screening Toxicity Study for Carbon Sequestration. $146,000. 2010-2011.

Norwegian Government/Gassnova. “Atmospheric Chemistry - Aqueous Phase Chemistry”. Subcontract to Sintef, Norway. $99,000. 2011-2012.

Norwegian Government/Gassnova. Nitramine Analysis Procedures Development and Screening Toxicity Study for Carbon Sequestration. $120,000. 2011-2012.

Norwegian Government/Gassnova. Nitramine Analysis Procedures Development and Screening Toxicity Study for Carbon Sequestration. $112,000. 2013-2014.

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