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A carbon dioxide scrubber is a device which absorbs carbon dioxide. It is used to treat exhaust gases from industrial plants or from exhaled air in life support systems such as rebreathers or in spacecraft, submersible craft or airtight chambers.

Carbon Dioxide scrubbers are also used in Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage.

Contents

Methods

Methods of CO2 scrubbing include :

algae absortion

The RCRS on the space shuttle orbiter uses a two-bed system that provides continuous removal of CO2 without expendable products. Regenerable systems allow a shuttle mission a longer stay in space without having to replenish its sorbent canisters. Older lithium hydroxide (LiOH)-based systems, which are non-regenerable, are being replaced by regenerable metal-oxide-based systems. A system based on metal oxide primarily consists of a metal oxide sorbent canister and a regenerator assembly. It works by removing carbon dioxide using a sorbent material and then regenerating the sorbent material. The metal-oxide sorbent is regenerated by pumping air heated to around 400 °F at 7.5 scfm through its canister for 10 hours.[3]

Strong bases

Various strong bases such as soda lime, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and lithium hydroxide are able to remove carbon dioxide by reacting with it. In particular, lithium hydroxide is used aboard space craft to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It reacts with carbon dioxide to give lithium carbonate:[8]

2 LiOH(s) + 2 H2O(g) → 2 LiOH.H2O(s)
2 LiOH.H2O(s) + CO2(g) → Li2CO3(s) + 3 H2O(g)

The net reaction being:

2 LiOH(s) + CO2(g) → Li2CO3(s) + H2O(g)

Monoethanolamine

Monoethanolamine solutions absorb carbon dioxide when cold, and release it when warmed.

Activated Carbon

Activated Carbon can be used as a Carbon Dioxide scrubber. Air with high Carbon Dioxide content (such as air from fruit stores) can be blown through beds of activated carbon and the Carbon Dioxide will adsorb onto the activated carbon. Once the bed is saturated it must then be "regenerated" by blowing low Carbon Dioxide air (ambient air) through the bed. This will release the Carbon Dioxide from the bed, and it can then be used to scrub again, leaving the net amount of carbon dioxide in the air the same as when you started.

See also

References

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