Porous liquid discovery leads to new spin out company

March 30, 2018, Queen's University Belfast

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast who invented a liquid that can dissolve remarkably large amounts of gas, have launched a new spin out company Porous Liquid Technologies Ltd.

The experts took the product from technology demonstration to commercialisation in less than three years.

Originally, the researchers had targeted applications in large scale industrial separations for their new liquid materials but the product is already attracting interest in a number of other applications such as in medical diagnostics and household products.

The project team, which includes experts from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen's, along with colleagues at the University of Liverpool, published their initial findings in 2015 but have since been carrying out further research to increase the yield and effectiveness of the porous liquids.

Professor Stuart James from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen's University is a co-founder of the new company. He said: "Porous liquids are a new class of liquid that contain microscopic cavities or pores, each the size of a single molecule. They contain up to 10,000 times the number of cavities that are found in conventional liquids, and up to around 20 per cent of the liquid is actually empty space – creating new substances with a far greater absorption capacity than the base solvents.

"Thanks to these cavities, porous liquids can absorb large amounts of gas and they can be tuned to selectively absorb one gas over another. The major benefit of porous liquids is that, unlike solids, they can be circulated, meaning that they can be applied in a host of processes. They can be used in continuous flow separations, such as the removal of impurities from natural gas, which currently relies on inefficient and energy-intensive methods.

"Porous liquids could be used as replacements for absorption systems based on conventional liquids, such as amine solutions. Currently, 40 per cent of natural gas reserves are contaminated with impurities that need to be removed but the existing for removing the impurities requires large amounts of heat energy. The new material would be much more energy efficient."

A patent examination process is underway for the core material. QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of Queen's University, has invested in the new spin out company Porous Liquid Technologies Ltd. which will explore a broad range of technological applications.

Explore further: First 'porous liquid' invented

Related Stories

First 'porous liquid' invented

November 11, 2015

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have made a major breakthrough by making a porous liquid - with the potential for a massive range of new technologies including 'carbon capture'.

Recommended for you

Targeting 'hidden pocket' for treatment of stroke and seizure

January 19, 2019

The ideal drug is one that only affects the exact cells and neurons it is designed to treat, without unwanted side effects. This concept is especially important when treating the delicate and complex human brain. Now, scientists ...

Artificially produced cells communicate with each other

January 18, 2019

Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have for the first time created artificial cell assemblies that can communicate with each other. The cells, separated by fatty membranes, ...

Using bacteria to create a water filter that kills bacteria

January 18, 2019

More than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed areas, which is why access to clean water is one of the National Academy ...

Hand-knitted molecules

January 18, 2019

Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks. An Empa research team has now succeeded in producing molecules between two microscopically small, movable gold tips – in a sense as a "hand-knitted" ...

This computer program makes pharma patents airtight

January 17, 2019

Routes to making life-saving medications and other pharmaceutical compounds are among the most carefully protected trade secrets in global industry. Building on recent work programming computers to identify synthetic pathways ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.