A paper with researchers from University of Calgary, University of Alberta, University of Ottawa, and companies Svante and BASF SE describes a new compound, a metal organic framework (MOF), that can capture carbon dioxide at an unprecedented scale from a stream of gas containing water. Dr. Ramanathan Vaidhyanathan, faculty member in the chemistry department at IISER Pune, is among the contributors in this paper. The researchers demonstrated removal of up to 95 percent of CO2 emitted from a cement manufacturing plant in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
A news release on this by the University of Calgary is here.
MOFs are porous, crystalline structures made by linking metal ions with organic ligands. The pores can accommodate gases and small molecules. Moreover, their organic backbone can be designed to bind preferentially to some molecules, making MOFs ideal molecular sieves for separation of gaseous mixtures.
Earlier in 2010, when working at the University of Calgary in Canada prior to joining IISER Pune, Dr. Vaidhyanathan was involved in developing a metal organic framework (MOF) azolate compound with excellent carbon capturing properties. The compound developed and tested in the current paper, CALF-20, is a variant of this azolate compound, as a scalable CO2 selective MOF, with even superior carbon capture ability.
Speaking on this development, Dr. Vaidhyanathan said, "The ability to capture CO2 under humid conditions means no need of sorbent drying - saves substantial amount of parasitic energy. This collaborative academia-industry work demonstrates the ability to engineer these MOFs into adsorption filters capable of running millions of CO2 capture and release cycles without any noticeable degradation."