Shanghai international science and technology cooperation project: “Industrial Heat Pump-Driven DAC for Future Cities”

Shanghai international science and technology cooperation project: “Industrial Heat Pump-Driven DAC for Future Cities”


China has formulated the carbon goals of achieving carbon peak in 2030 and carbon neutral in 2060. Becoming the industry leader of carbon emission reduction is in urgent need of technological innovation. Negative emission technology based on direct air capture (DAC) of CO2 is the international frontier research, and quantities of R&D resources have been invested in Switzerland, the UK, the US, and Canada. DAC technology uses amine functionalized materials to selectively adsorb CO2 from air at ambient temperature, and then achieve CO2 desorption and enrichment at increased temperature. Previous work indicates that the technical bottleneck for DAC is the high operating energy consumption. Particularly, the regenerative heat consumption of adsorbents accounts for 80% of total energy consumption. Recycling industrial waste heat in cities can be used to support the large-scale application of DAC technology.

In this project, we will discuss the coupling of DAC system driven by waste heat recovery heat pump for carbon emission reduction in cities. Shanghai has a large amount of industrial waste heat. It is estimated that if only the waste heat emitted by electricity/heat production and supply industry is recovered, two million tons of carbon emission will be reduced annually. The quality of industrial waste heat can be improved by an efficient industrial heat pump to generate 120 ℃ steam for desorption and CO2 enrichment of DAC devices.

Research content 1: Adaptability of high temperature heat pump system and low-grade industrial waste heat from the aspects of energy saving, economy, and reliability. The internal heat integration of the heat pump system with DAC contactor and separation unit, as well as the matching with external industrial waste heat are studied.

Research content 2: Matching of key components and systems of high temperature steam heat pump. The regulation of system components such as heat exchanger and compressor in the high temperature steam heat pump system are studied according to the temperature characteristics of industrial waste heat and internal reheating.

Research content 3: Design of DAC system driven by industrial heat pump. A heat pump/DAC coupling system model using an amine-functionalized CO2 adsorbent is constructed, and the energy flow of the system are studied and optimized.

Research content 4: Technical and economic evaluation of DAC system driven by urban industrial heat pumps. The operating cost of the coupled system applied in Shanghai and Montreal is estimated. The technical advantages of using industrial heat pump driven DAC system are predicted combined with the industrial layout and carbon reduction strategy of future urban development.

This three-year project is led by Prof. Ruzhu Wang from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and Prof. Ursula Eicker from Concordia University, Canada. Prof. Wang is a leading scientist in heat pumps, solar heating and cooling, green building energy systems, and the energy–water–air nexus. Prof. Wang received the J&E Hall International Gold Medal from the Institute of Refrigeration (UK) in 2013, the Asia Refrigeration Academic Award in 2017, the Nukiyama Memorial Award from the Japanese Society of Heat Transfer in 2018, the IIR-Gustav Lorentzen Medal from the International Institute of Refrigeration in 2019, the Peter Ritter von Rittinger International Heat Pump Award from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2021, and the Georg Alefeld Memorial Award from the International Sorption Heat Pump Committee (ISHPC) in 2021. Prof. Eicker is a founding co-director of the Next-Gen Cities Institute in addition to the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities at Concordia. Her team is combining innovative technologies, nature-based solutions and artistic expressions to solve complex urban issues.