Using an inexpensive polymer called melamine – the main component of Formica – chemists have created a cheap, easy and energy-efficient way to capture carbon dioxide from chimneys, a key goal of the United States and other countries in their quest to reduce global warming gas emissions.
The new material is easy to make, and primarily requires off-the-shelf melamine powder—which today costs about $40 a ton—along with formaldehyde and cyanuric acid, a chemical that, among other uses, is added with chlorine to swimming pools.
said Jeffrey Reimer, a graduate school professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the research authors.
The so-called porous melamine mesh captures CO2 with similar efficiency to early results of another relatively recent carbon capture material, MOFs, or MOFs. Chemists at UC Berkeley created the first MOFs for carbon capture in 2015, and later versions have proven to be more efficient at removing CO2 from flue gases, such as those found in a coal-fired power plant.
But Haiyan Mao, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow and first author of the research paper, said melamine-based materials use ingredients that are much cheaper, easier to make and more energy efficient than most MOFs. The low cost of porous melamine means that the material can be deployed on a large scale.
“In this study, we focused on designing cheaper materials for capture and storage and elucidating the reaction mechanism of CO2 “This work creates a general manufacturing method towards sustainable CO2,” Mao said2 Capture using porous nets. Hopefully we can design a future attachment to capture car exhaust gas, perhaps an attachment to a building or even paint on the surface of furniture.”
The work is a collaboration between a group at UC Berkeley led by Reimer. a group at Stanford led by Yi Kui, director of the Precourt Energy Institute, Sumorgay Miller Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, and Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley; UC Berkeley Professor of Graduate School of Education Alexander Baynes; and a group at Texas A&M University led by Hong Kai Chu. Jing Tang, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the Stanford Center for Linear Accelerators and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, is co-first author with Mao.
Carbon neutrality by 2050
While eliminating the burning of fossil fuels is essential to halting climate change, the main temporary strategy is to capture carbon dioxide emissions – the main greenhouse gas – and to store the gas underground or convert carbon dioxide.2 in usable products. The US Department of Energy has already announced projects totaling $3.18 billion to advance advanced and commercially scalable technologies for carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) to reach an ambitious flue gas.2 Capture efficiency target of 90%. The ultimate goal for the United States is net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
But carbon sequestration is far from commercially viable. Today’s best technology involves pumping flue gases through liquid amines that bind carbon dioxide2. But this would require large amounts of energy to release carbon dioxide once it binds to the amines, so that it can be concentrated and stored underground. The amine mixture must be heated to between 120 and 150 °C (250-300 °F) to regenerate the carbon dioxide.2.
In contrast, the porous melamine mesh with DETA and modified cyanuric acid captures CO2 at about 40 ° C, slightly above room temperature, and release it at 80 ° C, below the boiling point of water. Energy savings come from not having to heat the material to high temperatures.
The Berkeley/Stanford/Texas team focused their research on the common polymer melamine, which is used not only in Formica but also in dinnerware, cheap utensils, industrial paint, and other plastics. Treating melamine powder with formaldehyde — which the researchers did in kilogram amounts — creates nano-pores in the melamine that the researchers thought would absorb carbon dioxide.2.
Mao said that tests confirmed that melamine treated with formaldehyde absorbs carbon dioxide2 To some extent, but adsorption can be greatly improved by adding another chemical containing an amine, DETA (diethylenetriamine), to bind carbon dioxide.2. She and her colleagues later found that the addition of cyanuric acid during the polymerization reaction increases pore size dramatically and drastically improves carbon dioxide.2 Capture Efficiency: Almost all of the CO2 was absorbed into the simulated flue gas mixture within approximately 3 minutes.
The addition of cyanuric acid also allowed the substance to be used over and over again.
Mao and her colleagues conducted solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies to understand how cyanuric acid and DETA interact to make carbon capture so efficient. Studies have shown that cyanuric acid forms strong hydrogen bonds with the melamine network that helps stabilize Dita, preventing it from leaking out of melamine pores during repeated cycles of carbon capture and renewal.
“What Haiyan and her colleagues have been able to show using these elegant methods is exactly how these groups mix, and how exactly CO2 interact with it, and that in the presence of pore-opening cyanuric acid, it can circulate carbon dioxide2 “It runs and stops a few times with the capacity of that’s really good,” Reimer said, and the CO2 rate2 adsorbs is actually very fast, relative to some other substances. Therefore, all laboratory-scale practical aspects of this substance for CO2 It’s achieved, and it’s very cheap and easy to make.”
“Using solid-state NMR techniques, we have systematically elucidated in unprecedented detail at the atomic level the mechanism of interaction of amorphous networks with carbon dioxide.2Mao said. For the energy and environmental community, this work creates a high-performance, solid-state network family combined with a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms, but also encourages the trial-and-error development of porous materials research methods for step-by-step rational modification at the atomic level.”
The Reimer and Cui groups continue to modify the pore size and amine groups to improve the carbon capture efficiency of the porous melamine networks, while maintaining energy efficiency. This involves using a technique called dynamic synthesis chemistry to alter the proportions of the ingredients to achieve efficient, recyclable CO2 and high capacity.2 pick up.
Reimer and Mao also collaborated closely with Cui’s group at Stanford to synthesize other types of materials, including porous pyramidal membranes – a class of nanocomposites fused with a sphere of carbon and graphene oxide – and pyramidal carbon nanotubes made from pine, to absorb carbon dioxide. Solid-state NMR was specifically developed by Reimer to characterize the mechanism by which solids interact with carbon dioxide, in order to design materials that are better for capturing carbon from the environment and for storing energy. Cui has developed a robust and sustainable solid-state platform and fabrication technologies to create new materials to tackle climate change and energy storage.