London: Researchers have developed a new material containing common glue molecules which may help tackle climate change by capturing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air. Carbon capture materials are a crucial part of a range of technologies, alongside renewables and energy efficiency solutions, that can help reduce the amount of CO2 we release into the atmosphere, according to the research published in the journal Chemistry of Materials.
“We show that small epoxy molecules typically found in glues can stick larger ones together to make effective carbon capture materials potentially useful to tackle climate change,” said Enrico Andreoli, from Swansea University in the UK. “We’ve developed a new approach to making an effective CO2 capture material from a widely studied CO2-reactive polyamine by reaction with an industrially mass-produced epoxy resin,” Louise Hamdy, first author of the research paper, added.
“This material shows very high CO2 uptake and could potentially be used to capture CO2 from industrial flue gas streams or from the air, relieving us from some of the worst effects of global warming,” Hamdy said. Current CO2 capture technologies need to be significantly advanced.
Major challenges include materials cost, capacity, CO2-selectivity, regeneration, robustness and stability to water. Solid CO2 capture materials composed of polyamines supported on alumina or silica have emerged as promising carbon capture materials.
The researchers cross-linked the polyamine into a solid by using epoxy resin — constituting just one-tenth of the mass of the material —maximising the CO2-reactive component and avoiding the use of a support. “This confirms the validity of my original idea of using cross-linking as an alternative to bulky supports,” said Andreoli.
The cross-linked material modified with a hydrophobic additive captured almost 20 per cent of its weight in pure CO2 at 90 degrees Celsius, researchers said.