Effect of steam hydration on reactivity and strength of cement-supported calcium sorbents for CO2 capture


Steam hydration was used to reactivate spent cement-supported CO2 sorbent pellets for recycle and the effect of steam hydration on the reactivity of sorbents was investigated in a bubbling fluidised reactor. A specially designed impact apparatus was developed to evaluate the strength of the reactivated pellets as well as determine the effect of “superheating”. It was found that the reactivity of synthetic pellets was significantly elevated over that of raw limestone after steam hydration. The CaO conversion of spent pellets increased from 0.113 to 0.419 after hydration, whereas that of spent limestone ranged from 0.089 to 0.278. The CaO conversions of hydrated samples calcined under different conditions achieved the identical level, proportional to the degree of hydration. As expected, the mechanical strength of synthetic pellets declined severely after reactivation. Large cracks emerged on hydrated limestone as seen in scanning electron microscope images. By contrast, similar cracks were not observed for synthetic pellets after hydration, although hydration did produce higher porosity than seen with limestone and an increased surface area, which enhanced CO2 capacity and was associated with an increase in strength loss. The breakage rate of superheated steam-reactivated limestone derived pellets was about half that of hydrated samples. This demonstrates that superheating treatment (which allows the annealing of stacking faults and mechanical strain produced by hydration) enhances the strength of hydrated pellets. This work demonstrated that combining steam hydration with superheating can both reactivate the spent synthetic pellets and reduce strength decay associated with the hydration process

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