Scientists Develop Solid CO2 Sorbents With High Surface Area

Thanks to its morphology, fibrous nanosilica would allow for better carbon capture capacity, kinetics and recyclability.

AsianScientist (May 16, 2016) – Scientists in India have developed carbon dioxide (CO2) sorbents that show significant capture capacity and stability over conventional materials. Their results have been published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

The demand for such efficient sorbents is on the rise as CO2 capture is one of the more promising solutions to mitigate the rising levels of CO2 caused by human activity.

Climate change due to excessive CO2 levels is one of the most serious problems mankind has ever faced, resulting in abrupt weather patterns such as flood and drought which are extremely disruptive and detrimental to life. Mitigating these rising levels of CO2 is of prime importance.

The immobilization of functional amines on a porous solid support can result in stable and efficient CO2 sorbent materials compared to conventional liquid sorbents. A critical disadvantage, however, is a drastic decrease in the textural properties of these supports (i.e., their surface area and pore volume), leading to a decrease in CO2 capture capability.

To overcome this challenge, scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research have designed functionalized nanomaterials that allow higher amine loading with a minimal decrease in surface area.

“Our fibrous nanosilica (KCC-1) should be a good candidate for use as a support to design efficient CO2 sorbents that would allow better capture capacity, kinetics and recylability,” says Dr. Vivek Polshettiwar, reader at the Department of Chemical Sciences and lead scientist of the present study.

A unique feature of KCC-1 is its high surface area, which originates from its fibrous morphology and not from its mesoporous channels. This study demonstrates the usefulness of the fibrous morphology of KCC-1 compared to conventional, ordered mesoporous silica.

The KCC-1-based sorbents showed several advantages over conventional silica-based sorbents, including high amine loading; minimum reduction in surface area after functionalization; and more accessibility of the amine sites to enhance CO2 capture efficiency (i.e., capture capacity, kinetics and recyclability).

The article can be found at: Singh and Polshettiwar (2016) Design of CO2 Sorbents Using Functionalized Fibrous Nanosilica (KCC-1): Insights into the Effect of the Silica Morphology (KCC-1 vs. MCM-41).


Source: TATA Institute of Fundamental Research; Photo: Royal Society of Chemistry.
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