Environment

"Magnetic sponge" MOF captures carbon with record energy efficiency

"Magnetic sponge" MOF captures...
A new metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) nanocomposite is claimed to capture carbon with unprecedented energy efficiency
A new metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) nanocomposite is claimed to capture carbon with unprecedented energy efficiency
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A new metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) nanocomposite is claimed to capture carbon with unprecedented energy efficiency
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A new metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) nanocomposite is claimed to capture carbon with unprecedented energy efficiency

As porous materials with incredibly high surface areas, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) offer a huge degree of versatility that could see them used in alternative rocket fuels, advanced batteries and devices that quickly detect dangerous gases. Another area where they have real potential is in the field of carbon capture, which a team of researchers in Australia has demonstrated with a sponge-like device that adsorbs CO2 using just a third of the energy of other methods.

MOFs are made from metal ions fashioned into a crystalline structure to offer the largest surface area of any known material. It is said that the porous nature of MOFs would allow one the size of a teaspoon to accommodate the whole surface of a football field, a unique characteristic that offers incredible potential.

Scientists working on carbon capture and storage technologies have been looking to harness this potential for years, with some exciting advances being made. These MOFs can be crafted into 3D lattice structures with finely-tuned holes that trap CO2 while allowing other molecules to pass through, with advances making them cheaper and more efficient all the time.

The latest comes from researchers at Australia’s Monash University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), whose MOF, called M-74 CPT@PTMSP, features magnetic nanoparticles that make it function like a “magnetic sponge.” This combination enables it to adsorb CO2 from atmospheric sources using just one-third of the energy of any other reported method, according to the research team.

“Our research shows the lowest reported regeneration energy calculated for any solid porous adsorbent, including monoethanolamine, piperazine and other amines,” says Associate Professor Matthew Hill from the CSIRO. “This makes it a cheap method that can be paired with renewable solar energy to capture excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Essentially, we can capture CO2 from anywhere. Our current focus is for capture directly from the air in what are known as negative emissions technologies.”

The energy cost of of the material is 1.29 MJ kg-1CO2, which the researchers claim is 45 percent lower than commercially available materials, and is the highest energy efficiency carbon capture and storage on record. The researchers were also able to demonstrate its stability over 20 consecutive capture and release cycles.

The research was published in the journal Cell Reports.

Source: Monash University

9 comments
GeoffreyR.Gunning
Having captured the CO2 - what then? It's still CO2. How is it disposed?
windykites
CO2 is only .03% of the atmosphere, so trying to capture that is futile. Better to use it where it is emitted. what will they do with the captured CO2? I know: Sell it to Sodastream!
michael_dowling
GeoffreyR.Gunning: After capture,it can be stored in stable carbonate mineral forms,or pumped into depleted salt mines that are gas tight for long term storage.
paul314
CO2 can be used as a feedstock for a bunch of industrial chemical processes, with chemists developing new ones in anticipation. Or injected underground (in some cases to become a problem for some future generation, in others to become rock.)
DaveWesely
The problem with CO2 sequestration is not that we don't have the technology. The problem is a lack of funding (carbon credits).
Wombat56
BTW 1.29MJ is about 0.36kWh or about the same energy you save by recycling one aluminum drink can. OK, it's not S.I. units but I find kilowatt hours to be more relatable to every day experience. :-)
Catweazle
Oh, the poor trees!
Malcolm Jacks
Why don't they concentrate or use this technology on a new type of catalytic converter for cars and other combustion motors. i'm sure they would get untold backing from the oil industries.
Charles Bosse
Just to add another use for concentrated CO2, it's useful in upping yields for indoor crops, storing fruits, and might be a boon in algea aquaculture, especially for biofuel applications.

It's unclear how much we can use as opposed to needing to store, but we can certainly use some of it, probably more as we increasingly rely on farmed sources for organic products (plastics, etc.) over fossil sources.