Potential occupational risk of amines in carbon capture for power generation
Purpose While CO2 capture and storage (CCS) technology has been well studied in terms of its efficacy and cost of implementation, there is limited available data concerning the potential for occupational exposure to amines, mixtures of amines, or degradation of by-products from the CCS process. This paper is a critical review of the available data concerning the potential effects of amines and CCS-degradation by-products.
Methods A comprehensive review of the occupational health and safety issues associated with exposure to amines and amine by-products at CCS facilities was performed, along with a review of the regulatory status and guidelines of amines, by-products, and CCS process vapor mixtures.
Results There are no specific guidelines or regulations regarding permissible levels of exposure via air for amines and degradation products that could form atmospheric oxidation of amines released from post-combustion CO2 capture plants. While there has been a worldwide effort to develop legal and regulatory frameworks for CCS, none are directly related to occupational exposures.
Conclusions By-products of alkanolamine degradation may pose the most significant health hazard to workers in CCS facilities, with several aldehydes, amides, nitramines, and nitrosamines classified as either known or potential/possible human carcinogens. The absence of large-scale CCS facilities; absence and unreliability of reported data in the literature from pilot facilities; and proprietary amine blends make it difficult to estimate potential amine exposures and predict formation and exposure to degradation products.