New biobased material to capture carbon

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and Stockholm University in Sweden developed a new, low cost and biobased material to capture carbon.

In order to combat climate change, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology would theoretically be one solution. However, the materials and processes involved are often expensive and negative side effects.

The leading CCS technology is currently the use of amines suspended in a solution. Amines are inherently environmentally unfriendly, require large and heavy volumes, and the solution causes corrosion in pipes and tanks. Additionally, a lot of energy is required to separate the captured carbon dioxide from the amine solution for reuse.

The Swedish researchers now offer a sustainable and low cost alternative with their new material, which has “excellent, selective carbon dioxide-capturing properties”. The material is a biobased hybrid foam, infused with a a high amount of CO2-absorbing zeolites, which are microporous aluminosilicates. The porous open structure gives the material the ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

Zeolites have been proposed for carbon capture for a long time. However, so far, the main obstacle has been that larger zeolite particles hare difficult to work with.

To overcome this problem, the zeolites are combined with a gelatine and cellulose foam to make a durable, lightweight and stable material. Because the material is solid, the carbon can be easier be separated than from liquid amine.

Images: Yen Strandqvist / Chalmers