Effective carbon capture will no longer be reserved for large-scale operations in heavy industries, after Ingersoll Rand and Aqualung partnered together to design a modular, scalable and instantly deployable carbon capture solution.The two companies have signed a Head of Agreement (HoA) contract underlining their commitment to harvesting more sustainable energy resources and are already on the verge of launching the first commercial prototype of their jointly created carbon capture system. The prototype brings together Ingersoll Rand’s blower and vacuum solutions with Aqualung’s membrane technology, to create a safe, absorbent-free, and highly compact carbon capture system for industrial gas and biogas.
The carbon capture sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% before 2032  according to some estimates, and has the potential to scale even further, becoming a trillion-dollar industry, as well as making a necessary contribution to atmospheric CO2 reductions. However, economic concerns are holding back its uptake, with the cost of capture still high, meaning it has largely been left to large-scale operations in heavy industries to take advantage of the technology.Ingersoll Rand and Aqualung are attempting to address this inequality and make viable carbon capture available to far more industry actors, including medium- or smaller-scale operations. This is a timely development, with pressure growing on governments and businesses to take faster steps towards Net Zero in 2050.
Aqualung’s patented membrane technology is the culmination of more than 20 years of research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and with no toxic additives, it does not require a dedicated site redesign for installation. In addition, the company’s carbon capture solutions are energy- and space-efficient and can be retrofitted to multiple adjacent facilities at once. As a result, they drive down the cost of carbon capture to bring this technology within reach of many more industrial participants.
Blowers and vacuum pumps are required to provide driving force in the membrane system, which led Aqualung to approach Ingersoll Rand, which boasts a broad multi-technology and equipment portfolio in this space. In fact, Ingersoll Rand provided more than materials to the project: it also mapped out high-level application solutions and advised Aqualung on how to optimise equipment to meet changing specifications over time. Nearly fifty percent of Aqualung’s carbon capture unit costs are attributed to machinery, highlighting the importance of a suitable supply chain partner.
Andrew Robbins, CEO of Aqualung said: “Ingersoll Rand touches every aspect of our business. They’re our main supplier of equipment and not only can they design the solution we require, but also scale up different applications to support the growing needs of our customers and the increasing social appetite to accelerate towards Net Zero. As a partner, they help us design the system optimally, utilising a suite of products and brands that work together seamlessly and efficiently.
“They’ve also been very ambitious, recognising carbon capture as an exciting and essential market. They want to be part of it and grow with us.”
Following numerous pilot tests across the globe, the first commercial unit is set to launch imminently in Arkansas, USA. The technology will capture CO2 off a natural gas boiler, and overtime, deliver the CO2 to its partner Standard Lithium, to create a lithium carbonate for the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) battery market.
Aqualung has an abundance of projects kicking off over the next few years, teaming up with manufacturers in the cement, iron and steel, lime, lithium, exploration and production, gas turbine, shipping, coal, food, and waste industries.
Ingersoll Rand and Aqualung’s modular solutions can be constructed off-site and are designed in such a way that makes them relatively quick to deploy, saving money and space. They also offer a number of different scalability solutions, allowing customers to grow their carbon capture on demand. Projects can be established at medium scale until an efficient process is established, then grown to a much larger scale; or smaller units can be implemented separately and then connected with a common infrastructure, resulting in one big unit that improves efficiency across the board.
Robbins added: “We’re very excited Ingersoll Rand is more than a supplier, demonstrating the foresight to be a driving force towards cleaner technology by accelerating our offering beyond expectations. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for both companies.”