Nitrosamines and nitramines in Carbon Capture plants

Tomasz Spietz 1 , Szymon Dobras 1 , Lucyna Więcław-Solny 1 ,  and Aleksander Krótki 1
  • 1 Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal, , 41-803, Zabrze, Poland


The use of amine absorption in carbon capture technologies is related with the formation toxic and potentially carcinogenic amine degradation products such as nitrosamines and nitramines. These substances can be created within both the solvent and the atmosphere when air components (mainly NOx) and amines react with each other. These substances may pose environmental and health risks depending on the level and duration of the exposure. In this paper, formation and occurrence of nitrosamines and nitramines in carbon capture plants were described. Emission reducing technologies have been also mentioned. Furthermore, an overview of experimental data of emission of nitrosamines and other major degradation products has been pointed out.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • ANGOVE, D., WHITE, S., TIBBETT, A., CAMPBELL, I., EMMERSON, K., COPE, M., PATTERSON, M., FERON, P., AZZI, M., 2013. Environmental Impacts of Amine based CO2 Post Combustion Capture (PCC) Process.

  • AZZI, M., TIBBETT, A., HALLIBURTON, B., ELEMENT, A., ARTANTO, Y., MEULEMAN, E., FERON, P., 2014. Assessing Atmospheric Emissions from Amine-based CO2 Postcombustion Capture Processes and their Impacts on the Environment – A Case Study. Volume 1: Measurement of emissions from a monoethanolamine-based post-combustion CO2 capture pilot plant. CSIRO, Australia.

  • BERGLEN, T.F., DAG TONNESEN, CHRISTIAN DYE, MATTHIAS KARL, SVEIN KNUDSEN, LEONOR TARRASON, 2010. CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad – updated air dispersion calculations (No. OR 41/2010). Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

  • BRAKSTAD, O.G., DA SILVA, E.F., SYVERSEN, T., 2010. Support on input to environmental discharges. Evaluation of degradation components. Report No. F16202. SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Norway.

  • BRAKSTAD, O.G., SØRENSEN, L., BOOTH, A., HYLDBAKK, A., ZAHLSEN, K., 2011. Biodegradation of nitrosamines and nitramines in the aquatic environment. SINTEF Mater. Chem. Norway.

  • BRAKSTAD, O.G., ZAHLSEN, K., 2011. Biodegradation of nitrosamines in water. Biodegradation studies at low nitrosamine concentrations. Report No. A19989. Norway.

  • COUSINS, A., NIELSEN, P.T., HUANG, S., ROWLAND, R., EDWARDS, B., COTTRELL, A., CHEN, E., ROCHELLE, G.T., FERON, P.H.M., 2015. Pilot-scale evaluation of concentrated piperazine for CO2 capture at an Australian coal-fired power station: Nitrosamine measurements. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 37, 256–263. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.03.007

  • DA SILVA, E.F., KOLDERUP, H., GOETHEER, E., HJARBO, K.W., HUIZINGA, A., KHAKHARIA, P., TUINMAN, I., MEJDELL, T., ZAHLSEN, K., VERNSTAD, K., HYLDBAKK, A., HOLTEN, T., KVAMSDAL, H.M., VAN OS, P., EINBU, A., 2013. Emission studies from a CO2 capture pilot plant. Energy Procedia 37, 778–783. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.05.167

  • FITZGERALD, F.D., HUME, S.A., MCGOUGH, G., DAMEN, K., 2014. Ferrybridge CCPilot100+ Operating Experience and Final Test Results. Energy Procedia, 12th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT-12 63, 6239–6251. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.655

  • FJELLSBØ, L.M., VERSTRAELEN, S., KAZIMIROVA, A., VAN ROMPAY, A.R., MAGDOLENOVA, Z., DUSINSKA, M., 2014. Genotoxic and mutagenic potential of nitramines. Environ. Res., Linking Exposure and Health in Environmental Public Health Tracking 134, 39–45. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2014.06.008

  • FOSTÅS, B., GANGSTAD, A., NENSETER, B., PEDERSEN, S., SJØVOLL, M., SØRENSEN, A.L., 2011. Effects of NOx in the flue gas degradation of MEA. Energy Procedia, 10th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies 4, 1566–1573. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.026

  • GE, X., WEXLER, A.S., CLEGG, S.L., 2011. Atmospheric amines – Part I. A review. Atmos. Environ. 45, 524–546. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.10.012

  • GOETHEER, E., DA SILVA, E.F., 2012. Report: WP 4 in the project CCM TQP amine 6 – Emission Quantification and Reduction. Report No. F21929. SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Norway.

  • GOODALL, C.M., KENNEDY, T.H., 1976. Carcinogenicity of dimethylnitramine in NZR rats in NZO mice. Cancer Lett. 1, 295–298.

  • GOUEDARD, C., PICQ, D., LAUNAY, F., CARRETTE, P.-L., 2012. Amine degradation in CO2 capture. I. A review. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 10, 244–270. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2012.06.015

  • HAUGEN, G., EINBU, A., CHIKUKWA, A., DA SILVA, E.F., GRIMSTVEDT, A., VEVELSTAD, S.J., 2014. Emission measurement from SDR rig. OCTAVIUS Workshop, Germany.

  • HELGESEN, L.I., GJERNES, E., 2016. A Way of Qualifying Amine Based Capture Technologies with Respect to Health and Environmental Properties. Energy Procedia, The 8th Trondheim Conference on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage 86, 239–251. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2016.01.025

  • HOFF, K.A., SILVA, E.F. DA, KIM, I., GRIMSTVEDT, A., MA’MUN, S., 2013. Solvent development in post combustion CO2 capture-selection criteria and optimization of solvent performance, cost and environmental impact. Energy Procedia 37, 292–299. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.05.114

  • HONG, Y., KIM, K.H., SANG, B.-I., KIM, H., 2017. Simple quantification method for N-nitrosamines in atmospheric particulates based on facile pretreatment and GCMS/MS. Environ. Pollut. 226, 324–334. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2017.04.017

  • IARC, 2017. Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–119. Int. Agency Res. Cancer.

  • IARC, 1978. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans. Some N-Nitroso Compounds. Int. Agency Res. Cancer.

  • IEAGHG, 2012. Gaseous Emissions from Amine Based PCC process and their deep removal Report: 2012/07. CSIRO, Australia.

  • KARL, M., 2010. Atmospheric Degradation of Amines (ADA). Amines in aerosol - A review (CLIMIT project No. OR 60/2010). Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

  • KARL, M., WRIGHT, R.F., BERGLEN, T.F., DENBY, B., 2011. Worst case scenario study to assess the environmental impact of amine emissions from a CO2 capture plant. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control, The 5thTrondheim Conference on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage 5, 439–447. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2010.11.001

  • KHAKHARIA, P., 2015. Aerosol-based Emission, Solvent Degradation, and Corrosion in Post Combustion CO2 Capture. PhD Thesis Delft University Technol.

  • KHAKHARIA, P.M., KVAMSDAL, H.M., DA SILVA, E.F., VLUGT, T.J.H., GOETHEER, E.L.V., 2014. Field study of a Brownian Demister Unit to reduce aerosol based emission from a Post Combustion CO2 Capture plant. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 28, 57–64.

  • KLEIN, R.G., JANOWSKY, I., POOL-ZOBEL, B.L., SCHMEZER, P., HERMANN, R., AMELUNG, F., SPIEGELHALDER, B., ZELLER, W.J., 1991. Effects of long-term inhalation of N-nitrosodimethylamine in rats. IARC Sci. Publ. 322–328.

  • KNUDSEN, J.N., BADE, O.M., ANHEDEN, M., BJORKLUND, R., GORSET, O., WOODHOUSE, S., 2013. Novel Concept for Emission Control in Post Combustion Capture. Energy Procedia, GHGT-11 37, 1804–1813. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.058

  • KNUUTILA, H., SVENDSEN, H.F., ASIF, N., 2013. Destruction of nitrosamines with UV-light. Energy Procedia, GHGT-11 Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, 18-22 November 2012, Kyoto, Japan 37, 743–750. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.05.163

  • KOLDERUP, H., DA SILVA, T., MEJDELL, A., TOBIESEN, A., HAUGEN, G., HOFF, K.A., JOSEFSEN, K., STROM, T., 2011. Emission Reducing Technologies H&ETQP Amine6 (Report No. SINTEF A18095).

  • KOLDERUP, H., HJARBO, K.W., HUIZINGA, A., TUINMAN, I., ZAHLSEN, K., VERNSTAD, K., HYLDBAKK, A., HOLTEN, T., KVAMSDAL, H.M., VAN OS, P., DA SILVA, E.F., GOETHEER, E., KHAKHARIA, P., 2012. Emission Quantification and Reduction. No WP 1 and 3 in the project: CCM TQP amine 6 for Gassnova, Norway.

  • LÅG, M., LINDEMAN, B., INSTANES, C., BRUNBORG, G., SCHWARZE, P., 2011. Health effects of amines and derivatives associated with CO 2 capture. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

  • LEE, C., YOON, J., VON GUNTEN, U., 2007. Oxidative degradation of N-nitrosodimethylamine by conventional ozonation and the advanced oxidation process ozone/hydrogen peroxide. Water Res. 41, 581–590. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2006.10.033

  • LIN, J.K., 1990. Nitrosamines as potential environmental carcinogens in man. Clin. Biochem., Selected Papers from the 4th Asian Pacific Congress of Clinical Biochemistry 23, 67–71. doi:10.1016/0009-9120(90)90489-H

  • MERTENS, J., ANDERLOHR, C., ROGIERS, P., BRACHERT, L., KHAKHARIA, P., GOETHEER, E., SCHABER, K., 2014. A wet electrostatic precipitator (WESP) as countermeasure to mist formation in amine based carbon capture. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 31, 175–181. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.10.012

  • MITCH, W., 2002. Tasks 1 and 3 Report: Critical Literature Review of Nitrosation/Nitration Pathways. Yale Univ.

  • MORKEN, A.K., NENSETER, B., PEDERSEN, S., CHHAGANLAL, M., FESTE, J.K., TYBORGNES, R.B., ULLESTAD, Ø., ULVATN, H., ZHU, L., MIKOVINY, T., WISTHALER, A., CENTS, T., BADE, O.M., KNUDSEN, J., DE KOEIJER, G., FALK-PEDERSEN, O., HAMBORG, E.S., 2014. Emission Results of Amine Plant Operations from MEA Testing at the CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad. Energy Procedia, 12th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT-12 63, 6023–6038. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.636

  • NIELSEN, P.T., LI, L., ROCHELLE, G.T., 2013. Piperazine Degradation in Pilot Plants. Energy Procedia, GHGT-11 Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, 18-22 November 2012, Kyoto, Japan 37, 1912–1923. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.072

  • OEHHA, 2017. Toxicity criteria on chemicals evaluated by OEHHA. [WWW Document]. URL (accessed 9.15.17).

  • PETO, R., GRAY, R., BRANTOM, P., GRASSO, P., 1991. Dose and time relationships for tumor induction in the liver and esophagus of 4080 inbred rats by chronic ingestion of N-nitrosodiethylamine or N-nitrosodimethylamine. Cancer Res 51, 6452–6469.

  • PLISS, G.B., ZABEZHINSKI, M.A., PETROV, A.S., KHUDOLEY, V.V., 1982. Peculiarities of N-nitramines carcinogenic action. Arch. Geschwulstforsch. 52, 629–634.

  • PLUMLEE, M.H., LÓPEZ-MESAS, M., HEIDLBERGER, A., ISHIDA, K.P., REINHARD, M., 2008. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) removal by reverse osmosis and UV treatment and analysis via LC–MS/MS. Water Res. 42, 347–355. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2007.07.022

  • RAVNUM, S., RUNDÉN-PRAN, E., FJELLSBØ, L.M., DUSINSKA, M., 2014. Human health risk assessment of nitrosamines and nitramines for potential application in CO2 capture. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 69, 250–255. doi:10.1016/jyrtph.2014.04.002

  • SCHERF, H.R., FREI, E., WIESSLER, M., 1989. Carcinogenic properties of N-nitrodimethylamine and N-nitromethylamine in the rat. Carcinogenesis 10, 1977–1981. doi:10.1093/carcin/10.11.1977

  • SEPA, 2013. Review of Amine Emissions from Carbon Capture Systems. Scott. Environ. Prot. Agency.

  • SHAH, A.D., DAI, N., MITCH, W.A., 2013. Application of Ultraviolet, Ozone, and Advanced Oxidation Treatments to Washwaters To Destroy Nitrosamines, Nitramines, Amines, and Aldehydes Formed during Amine-Based Carbon Capture.

  • SHAO, R., STRANGELAND, A., BALLONA, A., 2009. Amines Used in CO2 Capture – Health and Environmental Impact. The Bellona Foundation. Bellona Report, Norway.

  • SILVA, E.F. DA, HOFF, K.A., BOOTH, A., 2013. Emissions from CO2 capture plants; an overview. Energy Procedia, GHGT-11 Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, 18-22 November 2012, Kyoto, Japan 37, 784–790. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.05.168

  • SØRENSEN, L., 2013. Presentation: .Environmental Fate of nitramines and nitrosamines released as degradation products from Post combustion CO2-capture plants. SINTEF Materials and Chemistry.

  • SPIETZ, T., CHWOŁA, T., KRÓTKI, A., TATARCZUK, A., WIĘCŁAW-SOLNY, L., WILK, A., 2017. Ammonia emission from CO2 capture pilot plant using aminoethylethanolamine. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 1–8. doi:10.1007/s13762-017-1475-z

  • SPIETZ, T., STEC, M., TATARCZUK, A., WIĘCŁAW-SOLNY, L., 2015. Reduction of amines emission and their volatile degradation products. CHEMIK 69, 625–634.

  • STRAZISAR, B.R., ANDERSON, R.R., WHITE, C.M., 2003. Degradation Pathways for Monoethanolamine in a CO2 Capture Facility. Energy Fuels 17, 1034–1039. doi:10.1021/ef020272i

  • TATARCZUK, A., STEC, M., ŚCIĄŻKO, M., WIĘCŁAW-SOLNY, L., KRÓTKI, A., 2016. Concept of a demo carbon-capture plant for coal-fired power unit. Przem. Chem. 95, 2322–2325. doi:10.15199/62.2016.11.36

  • THONG, D., DAVE, N., FERON, P., AZZI, M., 2012. Environmental Impacts of Amine-based CO2 Post Combustion Capture (PCC) Process. CSIRO, Australia.

  • TRICKER, A.R., PREUSSMANN, R., 1991. Carcinogenic N-nitrosamines in the diet: occurrence, formation, mechanisms and carcinogenic potential. Mutat. Res. Toxicol. 259, 277–289. doi:10.1016/0165-1218(91)90123-4

  • U.S. EPA, 2017. Integrated Risk Information System [WWW Document]. URL (accessed 9.15.17).

  • WIĘCŁAW-SOLNY, L., TATARCZUK, A., KRÓTKI, A., WILK, A., 2012a. Przegląd technologii ograniczenia emisji CO2 z sektora energetycznego. Karbo 57, 62–67.

  • WIĘCŁAW-SOLNY, L., TATARCZUK, A., KRÓTKI, A., WILK, A., ŚPIEWAK, D., 2012b. Keep up EU energy policy – the progress of research process to remove CO2 from flue gas. Polityka Energ. T. 15, z. 4, 111–123.

  • WILK, A., WIĘCŁAW-SOLNY, L., TATARCZUK, A., KRÓTKI, A., SPIETZ, T., CHWOŁA, T., 2017. Solvent selection for CO2 capture from gases with high carbon dioxide concentration. Korean J. Chem. Eng. 34, 1–9. doi:10.1007/s11814-017-0118-x

  • XU, B., CHEN, Z., QI, F., MA, J., WU, F., 2009a. Inhibiting the regeneration of N-nitrosodimethylamine in drinking water by UV photolysis combined with ozonation. J. Hazard. Mater. 168, 108–114. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.02.014

  • XU, B., CHEN, Z., QI, F., SHEN, J., WU, F., 2009b. Factors influencing the photodegradation of N-nitrosodimethylamine in drinking water. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng. China 3, 91–97. doi:10.1007/s11783-009-0013-8


Journal + Issues