Introductory Remarks | AIChE

Introductory Remarks

The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has naturally fluctuated on the timescales of ice ages. Concerns, however, stem from the recent dramatic increase in CO2 concentration, which coincides with global industrial development. This rise is mainly due to the high use of fossil fuels during power generation and chemical production. In order to meet the ever-increasing global energy demands while stabilizing the CO2 level in the atmosphere, the development of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies is one of the critical needs. In particular, there has been significant efforts to develop CO2 capture solvents and some have shown very promising results. For example, amine-based aqueous solvents can effectively and selectively capture CO2 from flue gas of coal-fired power plants. Unfortunately, the energy requirement for the current aqueous solvent systems is still considered to be too high. Thus, efforts have been focused on the development of second and third-generation CO2 capture solvents which are often water-free. Nanoparticle Organic Hybrid Materials (NOHMs) are a new class of organic-inorganic hybrids that consist of a hard nanoparticle core functionalized with a molecular organic corona that possesses a high degree of chemical and physical tunability. NOHMs are liquid-like, non-volatile and stable over a very wide temperature range, which make them interesting materials for various energy and environmental applications. While their CO2 capture efficiency and selectivity are great, like other anhydrous CO2 capture solvents, NOHMs suffer from high viscosity. Thus, an innovative encapsulation system has been developed to create large gas-liquid interfaces for CO2 capture using these viscous solvents and encapsulated solvents show greatly improved CO2 capture rates. Furthermore, it has recently been discovered that NOHMs have interesting electrolyte properties which may allow the CO2 capture to be pulled by the in-situ CO2 conversion reactions. The development of these unique particulate systems will not only advance CO2 capture materials design but also introduce unique particle technology research opportunities in various fields