Controllability and flexibility analysis of CO2 post-combustion capture using piperazine and MEA

Jozsef Gaspar, Luis Ricardez-Sandoval, John Bagterp Jørgensen, Philip Loldrup Fosbøl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this study, we developed a decentralized control scheme and investigate the performance of the piperazine (PZ) and monoethanolamine (MEA) CO2 capture process for industrially-relevant operation scenarios. The base for the design of the control schemes is Relative Gain Array (RGA) analysis combined with open-loop dynamic sensitivity analysis.

This study suggests that controllers with smaller time integrals and larger gains are required to maintain the PZ plant within reasonable short closed-loop settling times when compared to MEA. It also shows that the offset from the designated set-points in the presence of disturbances in the flue gas flow and heat duty is larger using PZ compared to MEA. The settling time for the PZ plant is generally larger than for MEA. However, the PZ plant rejects the disturbances faster and with less variability in the load of the power plant. Furthermore, this study indicates that the proposed PI-based control structure can handle large changes in the load provided that the manipulated variables, i.e. lean solvent flow or reboiler duty, do not reach their saturation limit. Additionally, we observed that shortage in the steam supply (reboiler duty) may represent a critical operational bottleneck, especially when PZ is being used. The MEA plant controllers drive the system towards drying out/flooding while the CO2 capture rate performance of the PZ plant reduces drastically in the presence of constraints in the availability of steam. These findings suggest the need for advanced control structures, e.g. MPC, which can explicitly account for constraints in the process variables.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Pages (from-to)276-289
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Controllability
  • Flexible operation
  • Dynamic CO 2 capture rate-based model
  • Piperazine
  • Sensitivity study


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