Christopher W. Jones
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology
Amine-Modified Silicates as CO2 Sorbents that Enable Direct Air Capture Technologies
Worldwide energy demand is projected to grow strongly in the coming decades, with most of the growth in developing countries. Even with unprecedented growth rates in the development of renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind and bioenergy, the world will continue to rely on fossil fuels as a predominant energy source for at least the next several decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that anthropogenic CO2 has contributed measurably to climate change over the course of the last century. To this end, there is growing interest in new technologies that might allow continued use of fossil fuels without drastically increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations beyond currently projected levels. In this lecture, I will describe the design and synthesis, characterization and application of new aminosilica materials that we have developed as cornerstones of new technologies for the removal of CO2 from dilute gas streams. These chemisorbents efficiently remove CO2 from simulated flue gas streams, and the CO2 capacities are actually enhanced by the presence of water, unlike in the case of physisorbents such as zeolites. Interestingly, the heat of adsorption for these sorbents is sufficiently high that the sorbents are also capable of capturing CO2 from extremely dilute gas streams, such as the ambient air. Indeed, our oxide-supported amine adsorbents are quite efficient at the direct “air capture” of CO2 and we will describe our investigations into development of “air capture” technologies as well. Air capture systems offer one of the few scalable options that could be deployed as a negative carbon technology, actually reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, potentially allowing the slow reversal of climate change.