A revolutionary advance in the capture of CO2

Scientist from EPFL in collaboration with China University of Petroleum, University of California and Beijing University of Chemical Technology, developed a revolutionary slurry-based process to capture carbon.

Currently, there are 2 approaches to carbon capture: the first one liquid based and the second one solid based. The liquid approach uses amine solutions that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, in order to separate the carbon from the liquid, this one is boiled, this step is highly energy consuming and is named regeneration. 

The solid material approach uses “metal-organic frameworks” (MOFs). MOF are fine powders able to collect the CO2 due to the nanosize pores on their surface. This low cost approach is difficult to transport and are highly engineering demanding.

The combination of liquids and carbon-capturing solid into slurry is revolutionary. The slurry is made of a MOF named ZIP-8 in suspension in a mix of glycol 2 methylimidazole. ZIP-8 pores are too small for glycol’s molecules, but big enough to capture CO2 molecules. The combination of the low cost and energy efficiency of solid nanoporuous with the simple liquid-based separation process successfully address the 2 main challenges in the carbon capture.

Future plan of these researches is to test this new slurry in the field, to collect CO2 molecules from flue gas in order to reduce global carbon emission.

- Contributed by Liliane Gonzalez, Academic Intern swissnex China