Feb. 11, 2013 — Emissions from coal power stations could be drastically reduced by a new, energy-efficient material that adsorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, then releases it when exposed to sunlight.
In a study published February 11 in Angewandte Chemie, Monash University and CSIRO scientists for the first time discovered a photosensitive metal organic framework (MOF) -- a class of materials known for their exceptional capacity to store gases. This has created a powerful and cost-effective new tool to capture and store, or potentially recycle, carbon dioxide.
By utilising sunlight to release the stored carbon, the new material overcomes the problems of expense and inefficiency associated with current, energy-intensive methods of carbon capture. Current technologies use liquid capture materials that are then heated in a prolonged process to release the carbon dioxide for storage.
"This is a step-change in carbon capture technologies."
A promising and novel class of materials, MOFs are clusters of metal atoms connected by organic molecules. Due to their extremely high internal surface area -- that could cover an entire football field in a single gram -- they can store large volumes of gas.
"The MOF we discovered had a particular affinity for carbon dioxide. However, the light responsive molecules could potentially be combined with other MOFs, making the capture and release technology appropriate for other gases."
The study was supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.
- Richelle Lyndon, Kristina Konstas, Bradley P. Ladewig, Peter D. Southon, Prof Cameron J. Kepert, Matthew R. Hill. Dynamic Photo-Switching in Metal-Organic Frameworks as a Route to Low-Energy Carbon Dioxide Capture and Release. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201206359
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