In order to reduce the carbon dioxide output from coal power plants, CO2 could be removed from their exhaust (post-combustion capture) and stored or, if possible, used as a carbon source for chemical syntheses. Previous approaches to this have suffered from the fact that they require too much energy. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Australian scientists have now introduced a new metal–organic framework compound that absorbs CO2 and then releases it upon exposure to sunlight.
Current techniques for the removal of CO2 from coal power plant exhausts by using liquid amines consume vast amounts of energy – sometimes up to 30 % of the energy produced by the plant. Most of the energy consumed in these processes is used to release the CO2 from the absorbent by raising the temperature or applying a vacuum.
A team headed by Richelle Lyndon and Matthew R. Hill is focusing on the use of concentrated sunlight as an alternative energy source for the release of CO2. The Australian researchers hope to achieve this by using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to absorb the CO2.
Tags: metal–organic frameworks, MOF, crystals, UV light, exhaust gases, sunlight
Source: Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2013-02-14.