A new hope arises for carbon capture and storage as a new material synthesized by researchers of United Kingdom’s University of Nottingham was discovered to be safe and nontoxic to environment and economical that can selectively adsorb CO2 and SO2 gases and regenerate easily, as reported in its article recently published in Nature Chemistry.
Most of the carbon capture materials that are being used in the past are amine-based. Carbon dioxide molecules effectively adsorb to this materials through covalent bonds between the carbon atom and nitrogen atom of the amine group. However, this method of carbon capture produces compounds that are harmful to the environment and release of CO2 molecules from the adsorbate requires more energy.
The breakthrough material named as NOTT-300 is a porous organic material made from aluminum nitrate salt, cheap organic materials, and water as solvent. CO2 and SO2 molecules bind with this material through hydrogen bonding between the oxygen atom of the gas molecules and the hydrogen atom of NOTT-300’s hydroxyl (OH) group.
Since hydrogen bonds are weaker than covalent bonds, gas molecules adsorbed within NOTT-300’s pores are easier to remove, that is lesser energy requirement for regeneration, than those in amine-based adsorbates. This allows for an easy-on/easy-off capture system for gases like CO2 and SO2. In fact, the adsorbed gas molecules can be removed through reduction of pressure.
The research team’s leader, Professor Martin Schroeder, said that NOTT-300 could also be put to use in gas purification, such as natural gas which are 10% contaminated with CO2. Moreover, it is also chemically and thermally stable.