Opening the Door for CO2

Aug 24, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Until recently, factory smokestacks that produced nothing but carbon dioxide and water vapor were considered exemplary. Now CO2 has become notorious as a greenhouse gas, and the danger of climate change has become one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. How can we slow the increasing release of CO2?

Efficient methods for the separation of this from industrial exhaust are being sought. Korean researchers have now developed a porous material that can bind and store CO2 efficiently and highly selectively. As Myunghyun Paik Suh and Hye-Sun Choi report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the lattice-like network contains flexible “columns” that can open the pores of the three-dimensional lattice for CO2.

Many porous materials are able to absorb CO2 and other gas molecules. However, the selective, room-temperature extraction of CO2 at atmospheric pressure from industrial exhaust containing other gases such as nitrogen, methane, and water remains a major technical challenge.

The research team has now developed porous, three-dimensional networks of coordination polymers. Various nickel complexes and organic molecules are used as building blocks that assemble into two-dimensional lattice-like planes, which in turn grow into stacks held together by “columns”. The special trick in this case is that the columns are not rigid, but very flexible. The corresponding cavities in the structure are thus of variable size and can adjust to the guest molecules that enter.

The symmetric molecule carbon dioxide has a permanent electrical quadrupole moment that can be described as two electrical dipoles sitting back-to-back and pointing in opposite directions. This quadrupole interacts with the three-dimensional lattice, and this effect causes the columns to open the “gates”, allowing the gas to enter the cavities. In contrast, nitrogen, hydrogen, and methane have much smaller quadrupole moments. The pores thus remain closed to them. The exclusion of nitrogen, which makes up a large proportion of air, is essential for any potential CO2 capture. In addition, the new nickel-containing materials are stable at temperatures up to 300 °C and are air- and water- stable—also an important requirement for potential industrial application.

If the surrounding pressure is reduced, the stored CO2 is released. This type of material is thus suited for processes in which must be cyclically stored and then released through a change in pressure.

More information: Myunghyun Paik Suh, Highly Selective CO2 Capture in Flexible 3D Coordination Networks; Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48, No. 37, 6865-6869, doi: 10.1002/anie.200902836

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User comments : 4

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Sean_W
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2009
While I don't agree with the whole climate scare business, being able to selectively extract CO2 from a high concentration source like factory exhaust might prove useful. From chemical processes to algae growing installations and countless other uses, CO2 is a resource that need not be squandered. And in undersea and outer space habitates any means of cheaper and more efficient extraction of CO2 is helpful.
Shootist
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2009
"CO2 has become notorious as a greenhouse gas"

Only by people who cannot, or will not, do the math.
NeilFarbstein
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2009
...the danger of climate change has become one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time.


Oh for fucks sake, climate change is not an environmental problem! Or if it is, then the earth has had an environmental problem since the beginning of time. What an absurd and ridiculous statement. Give it up already!!


screw the greenhouse effect. Some girls care about the surrounding environment.
Duude
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2009
Global warming enthusiasts have never explained how any potential warming climate could be definitively attributed to man-made carbon dioxide when:
1) Scientists have produced no method of measuring both methane and carbon dioxide dispersed from volcanic activity above and below the ocean.
2) Scientists have already attributed Earth climate at least partially due to sun spot activity which runs in cycles.
3)Scientists acknowledge Earth temperatures have been much colder and much hotter in past centuries but don't know why.

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