Researchers at I2CNER, Kyushu University have suggested the potential for advanced gas separation membranes for CO2 extraction from ambient air.
Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere is one of the most important problems for our society. Accelerating global warming produces heat waves, fire disasters, storms and floods. The anthropogenic properties of climate change require the development of novel technological solutions in order to reverse the current CO2 trajectory.
Directly emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air (direct capture of air, DAC) is one of the negative emission technologies expected to keep global warming below 1.5 ° C, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Deploying DAC technology is necessary for the mitigation and elimination of heritage carbon or historical emissions. Reducing the effectiveness of CO2 content in the atmosphere will be achieved only by extracting large amounts of CO2 that can be compared with current global emissions. Current DAC technology is primarily based on sorbent-based systems where CO2 is trapped in a solution or on a porous solid surface covered by a high CO2-related compound. This process is now quite expensive, although costs are expected to decrease as technology is developed and released at scale.
The ability of membranes to separate carbon dioxide is well documented and its use is established for industrial processes. Unfortunately, its efficiency is less than satisfactory for the practical operation of the DAC.
In a recent paper, researchers from the International Institute for Carbo-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), Kyushu University and NanoMembrane Technologies Inc. in Japan discusses the potential of DAC-based membrane (m-DAC) membranes, by utilizing state-of-the-art organic polymer membrane art performances. Based on process simulations, they show that targeted performance for m-DAC can be achieved at a competitive energy cost. It suggests that the process of separation of multi-stage applications can enable the preconcentration of CO2 water (0.04%) up to 40%. This possibility and the combination of membranes with advanced CO2 conversion could lead to a realistic way to open a circular CO2 economy. “Based on this finding, the Kyushu University team has initiated a Government-sponsored Moonshot Research and Development Program (Program Manager: Dr. Shigenori Fujikawa). In this program, directly capturing CO2 from the atmosphere by membrane and subsequent conversion into valuable material is a major development target. ,
References: “New strategies for membrane direct capture” by Shigenori Fujikawa, Roman Selyanchyn and Toyoki Kunitake, October 15, 2020, Polymer Journal,
DOI: 10.1038 / s41428-020-00429-z
Funding: Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science