PACT SCCP - PCC Plant - Solvent-based Carbon Capture Plant (SCCP)

Facility Location
City & country
Sheffield, S20 1AH (United Kingdom)
Unit 2 Crown Works Industrial Estate, Rotherham Road, Beighton
Description & contacts of the access provider
Legal name of organisation
Infrastructure contact - Primary contact
Dr Kris Milkowski
RICC contact - Secondary contact
Prof. Mohamed Pourkashanian
Facility Availability
Unit of access
Availability per year
Expected duration of single experiment:

The Solvent-based Carbon Capture Plant (SCCP) enables the development, evaluation and optimisation of a variety of solvents for post-combustion capture and related technologies.

It is designed to remove up to 1 tonne/day of CO2 (based on MEA) from an equivalent of approximately 150 kW conventional coal combustion flue gas.

The plant incorporates 8m absorber and a cleaned flue gas wash column, re-boiler, desorber column and a condenser on top of the column, and fresh and spent solvent tanks. The absorber and desorber columns are equipped with temperature and differential pressure sensors, solvent sampling ports, provisions for corrosion coupons and alternative materials test sites, and trace gas injection capability. The plant also has an integrated flue gas desulphurisation carbonate wash system.

It is controlled and monitored through a dedicated control system.


The plant is connected directly to PACT combustion facilities: the 250kW Air Combustion Plant and the 300kW Gas Turbine System, enabling post-combustion capture research from real flue gases from natural gas power plants as well as pulverised fuel combustion plants including coal, biomass and co-firing.


The facility is also connected to a dedicated gas mixing facility enabling carbon capture from any synthesised flue gas compositions, including industrial effluent gas mixtures.



The Solvent-based Carbon Capture Plant is a pilot-scale facility for the capture of carbon dioxide from combustion flue /process gas using liquid carbon capture solvents. It enables the development, evaluation and optimisation of:

  • the capture process including process modelling,
  • the carbon capture solvents, and
  • the construction materials.

Its key applications include post-combustion capture, the capture of CO2 from industrial process and related carbon capture technologies. It is designed to remove up to 1 tonne/day of CO2 (based on MEA and coal combustion flue gas) with an inlet flow rate of 210Nm3/hr (tuneable).

The plant is connected directly to PACT combustion facilities: the PACT 250 kW Air Combustion Plant and the PACT 330 kW Gas Turbine System, enabling post-combustion capture research from real flue gases from gas fired boilers and turbines as well as pulverised fuel combustion including coal, biomass and co-firing. The facility is also connected to a dedicated synthetic flue/process gas mixing facility enabling carbon capture from any synthesised flue gas compositions and industrial process gases, for example from steel, cement or biogas industry.

Example applications:

  • Benchmarking of solvents and comparison of energy requirements for range of solvents
  • Testing and development of alternative solvents
  • Development of bespoke capture solutions for particular power plant or industrial installations
  • Validation of baseline economics and assessment of plant flexibility
  • Investigating capture system performance with flue gas variability from different combustion systems, fuels or industrial processes
  • Solvent assessment, including ‘real’ aged solvents
  • Development of detailed mechanisms for solvent degradation to inform enhancement strategies 
  • Research to improve control methods for capture systems on power plants and methods to optimise the level of CO2 capture.
  • Integrated system modelling
Technical description
The key elements of the plant include:
  • Integrated Flue Gas Desulphurisation Plant: The FGD plant is situated at the beginning of the flue/process gas intake. It consists of an 8m packed carbonate wash column for the removal of SOx from flue/process gases down to about 10ppm. An integrated air cooler also controls the flue gas inlet temperature to the subsequent Carbon Capture Plant. Additional shell-in-tube heat exchangers are used for flue gas inlet temperature control. A by-pass is also fitted around the FGD plant directly to the Carbon Capture Plant for flue/process gasses with no SOx.    
  • The solvent based carbon capture plant: The main plant elements incorporate:

-8 m absorber column

-flue gas wash column for emissions control form the absorber column

-8 m desorber column

-re-boiler for the desorber column with a dedicated electric boiler

-a condenser on top of the desorber column

-cross-exchanger for heat transfer between lean and rich solvent flows + an air cooler for lean solvent inlet temperature control

-solvent tanks for fresh (1.3 m3) and spent (2.6 m3)  

The absorber and desorber columns are built in two 4m sections, each with distribution and collection plate and a 3 – 3.5 m packed section to enhance flue gas/solvent interaction with possibility of testing different types of packing materials. Both columns are equipped with ports approximately every 0.5m for temperature and pressure sensors and solvent sampling /injection ports/ trace gas injection. There are also provisions for corrosion coupons and alternative materials test sites.

The flue/process gas inlet volume is controlled by a plant fan with variable speed control, normally set at 210Nm3/hr (70%  capacity)

  • Process description

Inlet flue/process gas enters the system through the FGD unit or directly thought to the carbon capture plant via a by-pass. Plant fan controls the intake volume of flue gasses to the plant and drives the gas through the plant. The flue gas then passes up through the absorber column where the carbon capture solution sprayed from above mixes with it. The CO2 in the flue gas is absorbed into the solvent, and is bound by a weak chemical reaction. The treated flue gas, which is mainly nitrogen and water vapour, leaves the top of the absorber, and goes through a clean-up stage (wash column) to remove traces of amine before being released. The rich capture solvent leaves the bottom of the absorber and is pumped through a heat exchanger to the top of the desorber, where the liquid is sprayed downwards. Heat is applied at the bottom of the column in the reboiler. This breaks the chemical bond between the solvent and the CO2. A stream of pure CO2 leaves the top of the desorber and the regenerated lean solution is recycled back to the absorber. Water is removed from the CO2 stream in the condenser and the carbon dioxide leaves the plant.

  • Associated analytical facilities:

o    Flue gas analysis: dedicated flue gas analysers are installed on plant, monitoring CO2, O2, NOx/NO and SOx concentrations at absorber inlet, absorber outlet and wash column outlet in sampling rotation with each point sampled sequentially for 5 minutes. A high level CO2 analyser is also connected to the desorber outlet and is sampled continuously.

o    Emissions monitoring: a GASMET FTIR industrial analyser is also used for plant emissions monitoring with simultaneous analysis of a wide range of compounds including ammonia, formaldehyde, and others

o    Liquid sampling: liquid sampling points are available on the plant for sampling lean and rich solvent for monitoring of solvent CO2 loading and solvent component concentrations as well as a sampling point on the wash column for emissions analysis. Lab facilities are available on site for wet chemical analysis. 

o    Degradation studies: an onsite PERKIN ELMER SQ8 GCMS analyser is available for analysis of both liquid and gaseous samples.

o    Other analysis: Other analysis can also be provided through the extensive analytical facilities of the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield who jointly operate the PACT site.



  • Pilot scale: the plant is 1t/day CO2 capture plant providing a cost effective and flexible bridge between lab-scale research and large industrial pilot plants
  • Widely tuneable inlet flue/process gas capability:  SCCP plant forms part of an extended integrated pilot-scale facilities at PACT including gas turbines, PF combustion rigs and synthetic gas mixing facilities The integrated system enables research on any combustion flue gas from turbines and boilers including variety of fuels, biomass/biomass derived fuels, fossil fuels and co-firing. Synthetic gas mixing facilities can be used to modify real flue gasses or to provide purely synthetic streams. This provides an unparalleled and unique capability to test any flue/process gas, to look at various power generation and industrial carbon capture applications and investigate plant/solvent flexibilities.
  • Analytical capability: the plant and the wider onsite facilities have extensive analytical capability for monitoring plant performance, solvent and materials characterisation; onsite capability is additionally complemented by research capability of 6 leading UK universities supporting the facilities.
  • Integrated system and modelling: the plant is integrated with other highly instrument pilot scale combustion facilities on site (gas turbines, PF rigs, FB Rig…) enabling integrated process research, including looking at process flexibilities and their impact on each stage of the chain 
  • Expertise: managed and supported by leading UK universities and academic expertise in the area of combustion and carbon capture research, and system modelling.
  • Open access: the facilities are open access to both industry and academia, for more cost effective utilisation 
  • Shared office facilities: the PACT facilities have shared office space both on site as well in PACT administrative offices nearby; these offices are open to visitors accessing the facilities during experimental work.


Technical description
State of the art, uniqueness, & specific advantages
  • Integrated carbon generation with capture facilities covering wide range of fuels and flue gases, and modulated and simulated gas compositions including from industrial processes
  • Flexible, broad range plant operating parameters and configuration
  • Comprehensive state-of-the-art online analytical capability including full gas composition (FTIR), metal aerosols/particulates (ICP-OES), particulate and aerosol analysis (DMS500)
  • Advanced capability for absorber column profiling and modelling
  • Fully integrated system for wide range of combustion types and flue gas compositions
Scientific Environment


  1. PACT 250 kW PF rig (coal/biomass)/natural gas combustion plant
  2. Two 330 kW CHP Gas turbines (with multi-fuel capability including natural gas/ biogas, LPG, etc.)
  3. 150 kW grate combustion system for biomass and waste (planned development)
  4. PACT Gas Mixing Facility with cryogenic bulk gases and trace-gas injection capability for combustion gas modulation or generation of synthetic combustion/industrial process gases


  • Online ICP analysis of metal aerosols: Mobile state-of-the-art ICP lab for online simultaneous analysis of up to 50 metal species in PCC plant inlet or FGD/water-wash outlet to support solvent degradation research and mitigating strategies 
  • Cambustion DMS500 MKII Fast Particulate Analyser: For online analysis of particulates in flue gas or aerosol formation research on the PCC plant, generating real time particle size, number, and mass spectra
  • FTIR gas analysers: Two FTIR gas analysers for simultaneous online analysis of up to 20-25 species in flue/process/synthetic gas on the PACT PCC plant supporting, for example, dynamic operation and emissions research
  • PetroOxy lab-scale equipment, providing thermal and oxidative solvent degradation rates under various thermal conditions and gas compositions.
  • GCMS: Lab analyser for capture solvent composition, concentration and loading and for solvent degradation analysis
  • TG, TG-IR, TG-MS: Thermogravimetric analysis coupled with emission gas analysis by FTIR and/or Mass Spectrometry (primarily for solids)


Plant max pressure 4 bar, max flue gas flow 300 Nm3/hr; maximum height of installation for additional columns: 15 m; maximum flue gas inlet temperature: 160C; fresh/spent solvent storage conditions:  at atmospheric temperatures.