New material removes CO2 from natural and industrial gases

Scientists from Germany presented an artificial material that can separate carbon dioxide from other mixtures. However, other substances do not get into it.

Chemists from Bayreuth University have developed a material that can make an important contribution to climate protection and sustainable industrial production. With this material, carbon dioxide (CO2), which creates a greenhouse effect, can be separated from industrial waste, natural gas or biogas and thus make it recyclable. The separation process is both energy-saving and cost-effective.

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

It is an inorganic hybrid material. The chemical basis is clay minerals, which are only one nanometer thick and are located above each other. Between the individual plates are organic molecules that work as gaskets. Their shape and chemical properties have been selected in such a way that the pores are optimally adapted to the accumulation of carbon dioxide. Only carbon dioxide molecules can penetrate the pore system of the material and be held there. Methane, nitrogen and other exhaust gas components do not penetrate the material due to the size of the molecules.

The development of a hybrid material specifically designed to separate CO2 was made possible by a special measuring system that allows for accurate determination of the amount of adsorbed gases and the selectivity of the adsorbing material. This made it possible to realistically reproduce industrial processes in the laboratory.