Mineral carbonation of Victorian brown coal fly ash using regenerative ammonium chloride - Process simulation and techno-economic analysis

Tahereh Hosseini, Nawshad Haque, Cordelia Selomulya, Lian Zhang

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22 Citations (Scopus)


This report examined the technical and economic feasibility of four process scenarios for the mineral carbonation of Victorian brown coal fly ash. The first two design scenarios aimed to compare the performance of two leaching agents, namely, ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) and a mixture of ammonium chloride and hydrochloric acid (NH4Cl + HCl), on product yields and cost, whereas the other two scenarios were designed to recycle the leaching residue via single or multi-stage leaching steps to co-produce a carbonate precipitate and cement additive-grade by-product. Detailed designs were developed in Aspen Plus to determine the technical and economic potential of the selected process configurations and identify the concept with the lowest overall costs relative to the product yields. As has been confirmed, the overall production costs and carbon dioxide (CO2) capture cost of the evaluated process scenarios range from $61 to 333 per tonne of product and from $135 to 1091 per tonne of CO2, respectively. The process scenario that used NH4Cl + HCl as the leaching reagent had a significantly larger cost and a higher carbonation conversion compared to the other scenarios. The process configuration that recycled the leaching residue resulted in the lowest cost per tonne of fly ash and the lowest CO2 capture cost among the four proposed scenarios. The largest net present value (NPV) and the internal rate of return (IRR) as well as the shortest payback period for this scenario further confirmed its highest profitability. The NPV, IRR and payback period of $49 million, 53.4% and 2.3 years, respectively, could be achieved using Victorian brown coal fly ash in this scenario. A sensitivity analysis suggests that the change in the ammonium chloride price exerts the largest effect on the production cost. A 50% increase in the ammonium chloride cost could result in the production cost increasing by 29.5%. Additionally, the selling price of the carbon precipitate product and the production cost strongly affect the financial indices. However, the production of the cement-additive by-product exerts a marginal role on the process profit. The extra income created from the cement-additive by-product is counteracted by the larger cost related to the purchase and consumption of hydrochloric acid used in the final leaching stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54 - 68
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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