Fixing atmospheric CO2 by environment adaptive sorbent and renewable energy

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Tao Wang, Jun Liu, Kun Ge and Mengxiang Fang, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Fixing atmospheric CO2, followed by geologic storage in remote areas is considered an environmentally secure approach to climate mitigation. A moisture swing sorbent was investigated in the laboratory for CO2 capture at a remote area with humid and windy conditions. The energy requirement of moisture swing absorption could be greatly reduced compared to that of traditional high-temperature thermal swing, by assuming that the sorbent can be naturally dried and regenerated at ambient conditions. However, for currently developed moisture swing materials, the CO2 capacity would drop significantly at high relative humidity. The CO2 capture amount can be reduced by the poor thermodynamics and kinetics at high relative humidity or low temperature. Similar challenges also exist for thermal or vacuum swing sorbents. Developing sorbent materials which adapt to specific environments, such as high humidity or low temperature, can ensure sufficient capture capacity on the one hand, and realize better economics on the other hand (Figure 1) .

An environment adaptive sorbent should have the abilities of tunable capacity and fast kinetics at extreme conditions, such as high humidity or low temperature. In this presentation, the possibility of tuning CO2 absorption capacity of a polymerized ionic liquid material is discussed. The energy requirement evaluation shows that tuning the CO2 binding energy of sorbent, rather than increasing the temperature or reducing the humidity of air, could be much more economic. By determining whether the absorption process is controlled by physical diffusion controlled or chemical reaction, an effective approach to fast kinetics at extreme conditions is proposed. A shrinking core model for mass transfer kinetics is modified to cope with the relatively poor kinetics of air capture. For the studied sample which has a heterogeneous structure, the kinetic analysis indicates a preference of sorbent particle size optimization, rather than support layer optimization. Chemical reaction kinetics could be enhanced by stronger binding energy or higher temperature. However, the total kinetics can only be significantly improved by chemical reaction enhancement if the physical diffusion is fast enough.