Researchers identify new materials for more efficient carbon capture
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have shown that solid materials such as zeolites and metal oxide frameworks could more efficiently capture carbon dioxide from power plants.
The team, which has published its findings in the journal Nature Materials, has developed a computer model showing that absorbent zeolite materials can reduce the amount of energy used in the carbon capture process by 30%. The aim is for the software to provide a way for scientists to simulate the effectiveness of new materials in the carbon capture process.
"What is unique about this model is that, for the first time, we are able to guide the direction for materials research and say, 'here are the properties we want, even if we don't know what the ultimate material will look like,'" said researcher and co-author of the study, Abhoyjit Bhown. "Before, people were trying to figure out what materials they should shoot for, and that question was unanswered until now."
To create the computer model, the researchers first worked to establish the best criteria for a good carbon capture material, focusing on the energy costs of capture, release and compression. They then developed software to calculate this energy consumption for any material. More than 4million zeolite structures and 10,000 metail oxide framework structures were tested.
"The surprise was that we found many materials, some already known but others hypothetical, that could be synthesised and work more energy efficiently than amines," Bhown said. "The best materials used 30% less energy than the amine process, though future materials may work even better."
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