Ionic Liquid Sorbents for Carbon Capture
Ionic liquids for carbon capture and gas separation
Research is active on technologies for application of ionic liquids to carbon capture or other separation processes in energy systems. The technologies consist of materials and methods that promise to improve efficiency and economics of the carbon capture process in gasification-based or flue gas systems because of the wide range of compositions available and improved performance of the process relative to existing technologies. The materials can be used as solvents or sorbents and in membrane applications.
The technologies are available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
Fossil fuels will be used to provide clean, affordable energy well into the 21st century, but there are concerns about impacts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels. Capture of carbon from fossil fuel plants can produce CO2 in a concentrated stream that is amenable to geological storage. Carbon capture can be applied after fossil fuels are burned for electric power production (post-combustion capture), or in gasification plants (pre-combustion capture), where coal is converted into a clean low-carbon fuel gas that is burned in a gas turbine. Currently available carbon capture processes significantly reduce efficiency and increase electricity cost, but more efficient and economical processes for CO2 capture are needed for these applications. Ionic liquids (IL), organic salts that are commonly liquid at room temperature, are promising materials for CO2 capture. However, better methods are needed to produce effective IL materials; specifically, to incorporate them into practical sorbent materials or processes and to reduce costs and improve performance.
One of these inventions (1) addresses a novel class of ILs that offers promising properties for use in CO2 capture processes, as well as methods to use in applying the IL to gas separation. The invention guides synthesis of a class of IL compounds based on the triazolium chemical structure (compounds containing 3 nitrogen atoms in a 5-membered ring with 2 carbon atoms). Some of the compounds show increased CO2 solubility and thermal stability, facilitating their use for CO2 capture at high temperatures for high efficiency. The other invention (2) addresses a novel method to produce a fiber sorbent material comprised of a porous polymer network and an immobilized IL supported within the pores of the polymer network. These novel fiber materials may be designed for separation of chemical species such as carbon dioxide by inclusion of an IL that preferentially adsorbs the chemical species of interest. The novel fiber production method reduces fabrication steps, provides more rapid fabrication, prevents loss of the ionic liquid and provides a high surface-to-volume ratio to enhance adsorption performance and reduce cost in either cyclic sorption/desorption cycles or in a membrane configuration.
• These materials and methods promise to improve efficiency and economics of the carbon capture process in gasification-based or flue gas systems because of the wide range of compositions available and improved performance of the process relative to existing technologies.
• The materials can be used as solvents or sorbents and in membrane applications.Applications and Industries
• Capture of carbon using absorption of CO2 from integrated gasification combined cycle fuel gas (pre-combustion capture), or from flue gas and crude natural gas.
• Potential applications in other areas such as separation of chemical species from mixtures, battery electrolytes, solvents, coatings, lubricants, and biological systemsMore Information
U.S. patent 8,383,026, issued 2/26/2013, titled "Fabrication of Fiber Support Ionic Liquids and Methods of Use."Inventors: David R. Luebke and Shan Wickramanayake
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