Our Technology

KC8 is bringing low cost, environmentally safe, high performance CO2 capture processes to industries worldwide


Technology Overview

Our mission to commercialise the low cost and low environmental impact CO2 capture processes that underpin the KC8 technology, resulting in:

  • Low overall cost (up to 50% less than the best amines)
  • Lower energy use (up to 15% less than the best amine based technology)
  • Multi-impurity capture and production of valuable by-products (no degradation of products)
  • Low energy of regeneration <2.5 GJ/T CO2
  • Low volatility and environmental impact (SOx and NOx converted to fertiliser products)
  • Solvent sourced within current global Potassium market (readily available)

Capture Processes 

KC8 has a patented suite of capture processes utilising potassium carbonate solvents. The UNO processes, specifically the UNO MK 3 process, uses a precipitating form of the technology. These processes are at the heart of KC8 Capture Technologies and provide both major capital and operating cost reductions, making it the superior capture process.

Process and Heat Integration

Process and heat integration is a multi objective optimisation and energy targeting methodology and software for use in all Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) applications. It provides a holistic optimisation that predominantly reduces operating costs. Through the extensive experience of KC8 personnel, we are able to provide the optimum integration for carbon capture in industrial plants.

Low Environmental Impact

The UNO MK3 solvent used in the carbon capture process is derived from a naturally occurring material that is readily available in all countries around the world. Potassium carbonate is an inorganic compound that has been used for many years in the following industries Glass Production, Detergents/Soaps, Fertiliser, Pharmaceuticals, Food processing, Gas Treatment, Agricultural Chemicals and Food Additives among others. With the correct handling procedures, it is completely safe to use and has no impact on the environment.


UNO MK 3 Solvent Processes

UNO MK 3 is a novel solvent absorption process initially invented within the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) and developed over the last decade by KC8. It is a catalytically enhanced precipitating solvent technology engineered to capture 95+ per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from heavy industry sources such as cement plants, power stations (pre- and post-combustion) and other large CO2 emitting industries. UNO MK 3 process is suitable for retrofitting to existing emission sources as well as for new build plants. The process is applicable to all CO2 sources, however due to its robust nature it has been particularly successful in high oxygen flue gases typical of Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) generators.

Potassium carbonate (K2CO3) has been used in solvent absorption processes in chemical industries for many years. The patented UNO MK 3 process provides a unique update to this established technology, making it highly efficient for CO2 capture at low pressure. UNO MK 3 also links into the fertiliser production chain and has the potential to create value-added products.

UNO MK 3 has been developed from the laboratory stage to the pilot plant stage by an integrated multidisciplinary team comprising researchers, senior engineers and economists located at the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Pilot plant testing of UNO MK 3 has been completed under real flue gas conditions at Hazelwood Power Station in the Latrobe Valley, Australia. These pilot plant trials have successfully demonstrated the five key benefits of the UNO MK 3 process, namely:

  • High CO2 capture rate over a wide pressure range
  • Low energy of regeneration
  • Low overall installation and operating cost
  • Low volatility and environmental impact
  • Multi-impurity capture and production of valuable by-products

The reaction of CO2 with K2CO3 to form potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) occurs through the following overall reaction:

CO2 + K2CO3 + H2O ↔ 2KHCO3

The UNO MK 3 process contains the absorption and regeneration stages of a standard solvent absorption process. However, unlike a standard liquid-based solvent system, a KHCO3 precipitate is allowed to form. Removing this constraint allows UNO MK3 to be operated with concentrated solvent and greater solvent loadings. That, in turn, allows for greater working capacities, lower circulation rates and drives down energy requirements.

The development of UNO MK 3 builds on existing knowledge of K2CO3 processes while opening up the opportunity for safe, large scale CO2 capture.

The process is capable of handling a wide range of applications, including both pre- and post-combustion electricity generation and other industrial CO2 emitting processes. It is unaffected by the impurities in a range of fuel source including black coal, brown coal, natural gas and emissions from cement, iron and steel and other heavy industries. Due to its oxygen tolerance and low volatility, it is highly applicable to capture from Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) flue gases. This means it can be coupled with these generators to produce both low emissions and flexibility and responsiveness in future near-zero emission grids. It also has the flexibility to be applied either as a new build or retrofit application.

Our research has shown that UNO MK 3 is an innovative technology because of its,

  • use of a safe, non-volatile fluid,
  • use of a lower fluid to gas rate (L/G ratio),
  • selective regeneration of the solid bicarbonate,
  • conversion of the sulphur and nitrogen impurities in the flue gas to potentially valuable by-products
  • flexibility to add additional chemical processes such as the chloralkali process for potassium hydroxide, chlorine and hydrogen production.

These features highlight the inherent value of our technology, which will underpin the future of KC8. This includes:

  • Low cost (~ 50 % less than best amines) due to:
    • Low energy of regeneration (15% less than best amines)
    • Low raw material cost
    • Low solvent loss and replenishment requirements
    • Smaller equipment size
    • Removal of pre-treatment equipment such as flue gas desulphurisation (FGD)
    • Multi-impurity capture of SOX and NOX to create valuable fertiliser by-products
  • Minimal health and safety risk due to:
    • Chemically benign solvent (akin to baking soda)
    • Easy handling
  • Low volatility and environmental impact due to:
    • Very low environmental emissions
    • Low carbon footprint
    • Improvements over amine-based solvents on a broad range of environmental indicators including acidification potential, , ozone layer depletion, human toxicity and environmental toxicity
  • Lower market impacts because:
    • Potassium can be diverted from the existing fertiliser production chain to the UNO MK 3 process for CO2 capture, removing the need for additional potassium production. Amine-based processes on the other hand could require an increase of eighteen times the current worldwide production of ethanolamine to meet the current demand for CO2 abatement

The regeneration energy requirement of the UNO MK 3 process is 2 to 2.5 GJ/tonne of CO2. This is 15% lower than that typically quoted for amine-based processes because of UNO Mk3’s lower heat of reaction, reduced liquid to gas ratio (L/G) and higher working capacity.

The UNO MK 3 has substantial economic benefits in comparison to industry standards such as MEA and state-of-art amines.

The significant reduction in cost of the UNO MK 3 potassium carbonate process is achieved through incorporating the following features:

  • Heat integration
  • Enhanced rate promotion
  • Proprietary contactor design
  • Smaller regeneration circuit and alternative reboiler designs for the system
  • Lower solvent costs
  • Lower solvent replacement requirements
  • Elimination of SOx and NOx removal equipment prior to the capture system

Further, cost reductions can be achieved from:

  • Production of valuable byproducts for fertiliser industry
  • Coproduction of alternative chemical products such as chlorine and hydrogen.
  • Flexible capture with stockpiling of the bicarbonate salts

Potassium carbonate-based solvents are significantly lower in volatility compared with amine-based solvents. The volatile emissions from amine-based solvents can be significant and usually require an additional water wash section in the absorber as well as continuous solvent make-up. UNO MK 3 process does not require a water wash section in the absorber. In addition, it is possible to operate the UNO MK 3 system such that water is produced, negating the need for continuous water make-up.

A formal life cycle assessment (LCA) of UNO MK 3, compared with amine-based processes, has been completed by an external consultant using the LCA software Simapro and in accordance with ISO 14040 standards for LCA . The work has shown that UNO MK 3 has significant benefits over the amine-based process in a broad range of environmental impact categories.

The UNO MK 3 Process has the ability to capture SOx and NOx compounds along with the CO2. This process is particularly beneficial for installations that do not have flue gas desulphurization units (FGDs) and nitrogen removal systems. If amine-based solvents are used, the SOx and NOx compounds would have to be pre-scrubbed from the flue gas prior to capture, due to the susceptibility of amines to be degraded by these compounds. The UNO MK 3 Process can be installed with or without SOx and NOx removal systems or downstream of any existing FGDs.

The reaction of SOx and NOx with K2CO3 in the UNO MK 3 Process leads to the production of the valuable fertiliser products potassium sulphate (K2SO4) and potassium nitrate (KNO3), as shown below in Reaction 2.

SOx + NOx + K2CO3 → K2SO4 + KNO3

Reaction 2

Technology Applications

With continued scale up of the UNO MK 3 technology over coming years, we anticipate an ever-increasing number of industries will benefit from our lower cost CO2 removal. In recent years, UNO MK 3 has been developed from the laboratory stage to the pilot plant stage by our multidisciplinary team. These trials have successfully demonstrated the key benefits of the UNO MK3 process and the broad range of scalability inherent in the technology. Below are the additional technology applications identified to reduce costs. 

Large Scale Single Stream Contacting Systems 

KC8 has created a range of configurations in relation to large scale single stream contacting systems. This includes a novel concentric single stream absorption and stripping combined column, which uses concrete and/or geopolymers as the material of construction, enabling a large diameter than those available in steel. 

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Patents and References

KC8 technology was created on the foundation of years of collaborative research and technical expertise. Over this time, the relevant intellectual property and international patents have been filed and approved where applicable. Learn more about our patents, and references below.

KC8 have a broad patent coverage across 11 patent families and currently have 40+ patents awarded in the USA, Canada and Australia with additional jurisdictions currently proceeding.

KC8 Patents

We have a broad patent coverage across four patent families and currently have a number of patents awarded across the USA, Canada and Australia.

Throughout our research and development, the solvent technology has been extensively trialled and developed at various scales. This has taken place both in our laboratory and through actual power plant installations. We are currently working towards progressively scaling up the technology, firstly a field scale demonstration when the technology readiness reaches 15+ TPD. This would then be followed by a full scale commercial operation in plants operating at 500 to 150,000 TPD, expected to be achieved by 2025.


To learn more about the past and current research regarding the KC8 capture technology, please refer to our academic reference list.

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