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    ExxonMobil Hails Carbon Capture Breakthrough


The new materials can capture more than 90% of the CO2 from industrial sources, which is up to six times more than conventional amine-based technology.

by: Joseph Murphy

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ExxonMobil Hails Carbon Capture Breakthrough

ExxonMobil, the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have discovered new materials that could capture more than 90% of the CO2 from industrial sources such as gas power plants, the US major said on July 24.

Laboratory tests indicate that the patent-pending tetraamine-functionalised metal organic frameworks can capture up to six time more CO2 than conventional amine-based capture capture technology, ExxonMobil said. The materials can be regenerated for repeated use by using low-temperature steam, reducing energy needs in the overall carbon capture process. This could reduce technology costs and eventually support commercial applications.

By manipulating the structure of the metal organic framework material, scientists demonstrated the ability to condense a surface area the size of a football field into just one gram of mass that acts as a sponge for CO2. The results have been published in the international peer-reviewed Science journal.

"This innovative hybrid porous material has so far proven to be more effective, requires less heating and cooling, and captures more CO2 than current materials," Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, said in a statement.

ExxonMobil and its partners are developing a portfolio of lower-emissions energy solutions, Swarup said, noting that the new materials were among many that the company was researching to reduce CO2 in energy production.

The US major's team has been working with Berkeley for eight years on the potential carbon capture solution, which demonstrates stability in the presence of water vapour, without oxidation, allowing CO2 to be captured from various sources, under a number of conditions. Further research and development will be needed to progress the technology to the pilot phase and then apply it on an industrial scale.

ExxonMobil said it had invested around $10bn in the research, development and deployment of lower-emission energy solutions since 2000. It is working with over 80 universities, five energy centres and multiple private sector partners around the world to explore next-generation energy technologies, it said.