Porous material could help fight against greenhouse gases

Porous material could help fight against greenhouse gases
A new low-cost material that could help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from fossil fuel-burning power plants has been discovered by a team from the University of Nottingham.

The researchers believe the porous NOTT-300 material could provide a greener and cheaper alternative to existing solutions to absorb polluting gases such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, which are expensive and use lots of energy.

"Our novel material has potential for applications in carbon capture technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and therefore contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," said project leader Professor Martin Schröder, Dean of the university's faculty of science.

"It offers the opportunity for the development of an 'easy on/easy off' capture system that carries fewer economic and environmental penalties than existing technologies. It could also find application in gas separation processes where the removal of CO2 or acidic gases such as SO2 is required."

According to Prof Schröder, the material is economically viable to produce because it is synthesised from relatively simple and cheap organic materials with water as the only solvent. "The material shows high uptake of CO2 and SO2," he added. "In the case of SO2, this is the highest reported for the class of materials to date. It is also selective for these gases, with other gases – such as hydrogen, methane, nitrogen, oxygen – showing no or very little adsorption into the pores."

In addition to high uptake capacity and selectivity, it is also said to be very easy to release the adsorbed gas molecules through simple reduction of pressure. The material has high chemical stability to all common organic solvents and is stable in water and up to temperatures of 400°C.

The research was funded by an EPSRC programme grant and features in the journal Nature Chemsitry.

Laura Hopperton

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