• New gas separation membranes have the potential for effective direct removal of CO2 from ambient air, above absorption systems, according to scientists from Kyushu University.
Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere is an issue of great importance to our society. Accelerating global warming results in catastrophic heat waves, wildfires, storms, and floods. The anthropogenic nature of climate change requires the development of novel technological solutions to reverse the current trajectory of CO2.
The direct capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air (direct air capture, DAC) is one of a variety of negative emission technologies expected to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).
A wide deployment of DAC technologies is needed to mitigate and eliminate so-called legacy carbon or historical emissions. The effective reduction of the CO2 content in the atmosphere would only be achieved by extracting huge amounts of CO2 that are comparable to current global emissions. Current DAC technologies are mainly based on absorbent-based systems where CO2 is trapped in solution or on the surface of porous solids covered with compounds with high CO2 affinity.
These processes are currently quite expensive, although the cost is expected to decrease as technologies are developed and implemented at scale. The ability of membranes to separate carbon dioxide is well documented and its usefulness is established for industrial processes. Unfortunately, its efficiency is less than satisfactory for the practical operation of the DAC.
In a recent article, published in the Polymer Journal, researchers from the International Institute for Carbo-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), Kyushu University, and NanoMembrane Technologies Inc. in Japan discussed the potential of membrane-based DAC (m-DAC), taking advantage of the state next-generation performance of organic polymer membranes.
Based on the simulation of the process, they demonstrated that the performance anticipated for the m-DAC can be achieved with competitive energy costs. It is shown that a multi-stage application separation process can allow preconcentration of CO2 in air (0.04%) to 40%. This possibility and the combination of membranes with advanced CO2 conversion can lead to realistic means of opening up the CO2 circular economy.
Based on this finding, the Kyushu University team has initiated a Moonshot Research and Development Program supported by the Japanese government. In this program, the direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere by membranes and the subsequent conversion into valuable materials is the main development objective.
Source: Verde, T., 2020. Tecnología Verde Para Extraer CO2 Directamente Del Aire. [online] ECOticias.com. Available at: <https://www.ecoticias.com/tecnologia-verde/205640/Tecnologia-Verde-extraer-CO2-directamente-aire> [Accessed 9 December 2020].
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