Monoethanolamine (MEA), or 2-aminoethanol, is a phospholipid composed of a primary amine and a primary alcohol. This toxic compound is a weak base. It is a viscous liquid that smells of ammonia.
Uses of monoethanolamine
MEA is used in the production of many chemical products such as detergents, emulsifiers and pharmaceutical products.
MEA is also used to reduce the acidity of certain gases and to capture carbon dioxide from post-combustion gases.
MEA to obtain pure carbon dioxide
At ambient temperature a solution of MEA captures gaseous CO2 in the form of salts. The solution is simply heated in a confined enclosure to release the carbon dioxide and regenerate the monoethanolamine solution. Pure carbon dioxide is thus obtained.
CO2 capture in the presence of monoethanolamine. © A. Halme, Wikimedia CC by-sa 3.0