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Microporous crystalline material captures carbon from humid gas

16 October 2015

Scientists have created crystals that capture carbon dioxide much more efficiently than previously known materials, even in the presence of water.

Osamu Terasaki (left) and Peter Oleynikov

One way to mitigate climate change is to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. So far this has been difficult, since the presence of water prevents the adsorption of CO2, and complete dehydration is a costly process. Scientists have now created a stable and recyclable material, where the micropores within the crystal have different adsorption sites for carbon dioxide and water.

“As far as I know this is the first material that captures CO2 in an efficient way in the presence of humidity. In other cases there is competition between water and carbon dioxide and water usually wins. This material adsorbs both, but the CO2 uptake is enormous” says Professor Osamu Terasaki of the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry at Stockholm University.

The new material - a copper silicate crystal - is called SGU-29, named after Sogang University in Korea, and is the result of international cooperation.

CO2 is always produced with moisture, and now we can capture CO2 from humid gases. Combined with other systems that are being developed, the waste carbon can be used for new valuable compounds. People are working very hard and I think we will be able to do this within five years. The most difficult part is to capture carbon dioxide, and we have a solution for that now,” says Professor Terasaki.

The research is published in the journal, Science.

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