New material removes CO2 from natural and industrial gases

Scientists from Germany have presented an artificial material that is able to separate carbon dioxide from other mixtures. In this case, the rest of the substances do not enter it.

Chemists at the University of Bayreuth have developed a material that can make important contributions to climate protection and sustainable industrial production. With this material, the greenhouse gas (CO2) can be separated from industrial waste, natural gas, or biogas and thus made recyclable. The separation process is both energy-efficient and cost-effective.

It is capable of completely removing CO2 from gas mixtures. In all these cases, harmful gas accumulates in the cavities of the material solely due to physical interaction. From there, it can be released without a large expenditure of energy in order to become available again as a resource for industrial production.

It is an inorganic hybrid material. The chemical base is clay minerals, they are only one nanometer thick and are located on top of each other. Between the individual plates are organic molecules that act as spacers. Their shape and chemical properties are selected in such a way that the pores are optimally adapted for the accumulation of carbon dioxide. Only carbon dioxide molecules can enter the pore system of the material and be held there. Methane, nitrogen, and other components of exhaust gases do not penetrate into the material due to the size of the molecules.

The development of a hybrid material specifically designed for CO2 separation has been made possible by a special measuring system that accurately determines the amount of adsorbed gases and the selectivity of the adsorbing material. This made it possible to realistically reproduce industrial processes in the laboratory.

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