Chemical looping combustion (CLC) is a promising technology for energy production with inherent capture of carbon dioxide at minimal energy penalty. In CLC, oxygen is transferred from an air reactor to a fuel reactor by means of a solid oxygen carrier. Direct contact between air and fuel is avoided, resulting in an undiluted CO2 exhaust stream. As such, CLC was picked up recently as a high potential carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. While initial focus was on storage projects, CO2 is more and more considered as a valuable chemical substance for enhanced oil/gas recovery projects as well as for the production of chemicals, polymers or building materials.
A critical aspect of the CLC technology is the oxygen carrier performance which has a very strong impact on the economic viability. Parameters such as particle size, density, porosity, strength, attrition resistance, reactivity, environmental aspects and cost, define the performance of the oxygen carrier. The first generation oxygen carriers was Ni-based. However, due to cost of nickel and toxicity, a search for Ni-free oxygen carriers was conducted with similar or superior performance in CLC. This lead to the development of Cu-, Fe and Mn-based oxygen carriers, that demonstrate the beneficial oxygen uncoupling effect, with complete fuel conversion as a result.
In this contribution it is shown that the industrial spray-drying technique is a very versatile and scalable technique for the fabrication of oxygen carriers. New and promising oxygen carriers with varying compositions, good fluidisability, high sphericity, high attrition resistance, and homogeneity on the micro-scale have been synthesized. Different materials such as perovskite type materials based on calcium-manganate, magnesium manganates, copper based materials, and iron manganates have been investigated for their performance with promising results towards complete combustion and high attrition resistance.