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18.08.2008



Organic liquids capture greenhouse gas



14 August 2008



Carbon dioxide-binding organic liquids (CO2BOLs) can hold more than twice as much CO2 as current capture agents, say scientists in North America. The liquids could be used in coal power plants to capture the greenhouse gas from combustion exhaust.


Reaction scheme showing the reversible binding of carbon dioxide with an amidine and alcohol








Organic liquids can store almost 3 times the amount of carbon dioxide



David Heldebrant at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, US, and colleagues, made CO2BOLs from mixtures of organic alcohols and strong organic bases. They found that the CO2BOLs can store up to 19 per cent of their weight in CO2, much higher than the maximum of seven per cent achievable with current aqueous amine systems.


'The biggest obstacle in efficient chemical CO2 capture and release is the cost of stripping CO2 from the aqueous capture agent due to the high specific heats associated with water,' says Heldebrant. Removing, or stripping, the CO2 from the capture agent allows the liquid to be recycled and capture more CO2. With CO2BOLs, less fluid is needed to capture the same amount of CO2, and less energy is needed to strip the CO2, he explains. 'Such a system can potentially offer large energy savings for CO2 stripping when employed on an industrial scale,' he adds.



"In the future, these mixtures could replace aqueous amine solutions as a way of removing carbon dioxide from post-combustion waste gases"
- Kazunari Ohgaki, Osaka University, Japan

In addition, Heldebrant's group found that the CO2BOLs, which were designed to be a direct replacement for the aqueous amines currently used in coal plants, could go through five cycles of capturing and releasing CO2 without losing activity or selectivity.


'The release of CO2 in a controlled fashion is important for permanent sequestration of CO2 or other applications such as carbonation in the beverage, dry cleaning or chemical industries,' explains Heldebrant. 'Just because CO2 is a greenhouse gas doesn't mean it has no useful applications or market value.'


Kazunari Ohgaki, from Osaka University, Japan, an expert in carbon capture and storage, sees the potential of the study. 'In the future, these mixtures could replace aqueous amine solutions as a way of removing CO2 from post-combustion waste gases,' he says.


Heldebrant's team are currently modelling the system to check for any obstacles to implementation and also plan to investigate whether CO2BOLs could be used to capture CO2 before the fuel is burned.


Christina Hodkinson




Link to journal article



Organic liquid CO2 capture agents with high gravimetric CO2 capacity
David J. Heldebrant, Clement R. Yonker, Philip G. Jessop and Lam Phan, Energy Environ. Sci., 2008
DOI: 10.1039/b809533g


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