Suhyun Lee (이수현)’s first paper, “Techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment of the electrochemical conversion process with captured CO2 in an amine-based solvent“, was published in a high-impact journal, Green Chemistry. Her research is also highlighted on the Front Cover (inside). Congratulation!
The direct electrochemical conversion of captured CO2 technology has received global attention as an alternative to the current energy-demanding amine solvent regeneration and separation processes of the conventional carbon capture process; however, the identification of the potential advantages of this process from both the economic and environmental perspectives is not straightforward. Here, we present process designs of two commercial-scale carbon capture and utilization (CCU) processes: a direct electrochemical conversion process via the captured CO2 reduction reaction (cCO2RR) in a monoethanolamine (MEA)-based medium and an electrochemical conversion process via the CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) in aqueous electrolyte media. As a result of the techno-economic analysis, the levelized cost of product CO (LCOC) of the cCO2RR process, which reflects the current technology level, is 3.5 times higher than that of the CO2RR process, resulting in low economic feasibility. However, if the technology of cCO2RR develops to the same level as that of the CO2RR, the LCOC can be 6.1% lower than that of the CO2RR process, which shows that the cCO2RR technology has good economic potential. Furthermore, the life cycle assessment revealed that when using renewable electricity, the cCO2RR process can have a much more positive environmental impact than CO2RR, even at the current technological performance level. We highlighted that the analysis of the proposed cCO2RR technology will become a good guideline for the development of an integrated and new type of CCU technology without being complacent with the current CCU technology.