Research led by The University of Nottingham School of Chemistry has developed a new porous material that has unique carbon dioxide retention properties.  The material’s structure allows selective adsorption of carbon dioxide – while other gases such as nitrogen, methane and hydrogen can pass back through, the carbon dioxide remains trapped in the materials nanopores, even at low temperatures.

The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Materials, form part of an ongoing effort at Nottingham to develop new materials for CO2 gas storage applications and could have an impact in the advancement of new carbon capture products for reducing emissions from fossil fuel processes.

The research focuses on the metal organic framework NOTT-202a that has a unique honeycomb-like structural arrangement.  The group thinks the new material can be considered to represent an entirely new class of porous material.

NOTT-202a Carbon Capture Illustration.

NOTT-202a consists of tetra-carboxylate ligands – a honeycomb like structure made of a series of molecules or ions bound to a central metal atom – that’s filled with indium metal centers. This forms a novel structure consisting of two interlocked frameworks.

Lead researcher, School of Chemistry Professor Martin Schröder, said: “The unique defect structure that this new material shows can be correlated directly to its gas adsorption properties. Detailed analyses via structure determination and computational modeling have been critical in determining and rationalizing the structure and function of this material.”

The research team includes Dr Sihai Yang, Professor Alexander Blake, Professor Neil Champness and Dr Elena Bichoutskaia at Nottingham, who collaborated on the project with colleagues at the University of Newcastle and Diamond Light Source and STFC Daresbury Laboratory.

Diamond Light Source provided state of the art X-ray powder diffraction measurements and advanced computer modeling used to probe and gain insight into the unique carbon dioxide capturing properties of the material.

The research is a part of a program aimed at applying coordination chemistry to the generation of new multi-functional porous materials that could provide innovative solutions for key issues around environmental and chemical sustainability.

The Brits may be on to something if the material can clear the CO2 and be reused making the material a filter step in CO2 processing.

The leading problem is going to be the cost of ingredients to make the new material.  The team is doing real well until indium is added, indium is not a ‘low cost’ metal, nor is it a precious metal like gold or platinum.  A quick look suggests the current cost may be a third or so the price of gold.  The main sources are China and Russia.

It’s going to be critical in designs that capture CO2 the materials are cheap or can reused at very low cost.  The press release and study abstract are both vague on the new material’s use in a process.  We do know the material works quite cold, 195º K or –78º C and –108º F.  Maybe the $32 price of admission to the study will show a graph or reveal a temperature scale.  The energy used in a cycling isn’t shown either.

The Brits may be on to something, let’s hope so.  CO2 is too useful to waste.


1 Comment so far

  1. JeffC on June 13, 2012 9:01 AM

    Its called trees and they are the best method for “carbon capture” …

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