Researchers have discovered a new method to capture carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion sources using readily available and affordable chemicals. The team hopes this method can be used on industrial smokestacks, vehicle exhaust pipes and other mobile sources of carbon dioxide.
The team, including lead author Dr. Haiyan Mao of UC Berkeley, reported on their process and materials in Science Advances. They used polymer melamine, which is the main component of Formica, a laminated composite material commonly used in plastic products, kitchen countertops and furniture.
When combined with the commercially available chemicals diethylenetriamine and cyanuric acid, and treated with formaldehyde, the team noticed that nanoscale pores appeared on the melamine. .
The resulting material can absorb almost all the carbon dioxide in a flue gas mixture in about three minutes. The system can operate at a temperature of 40°C (104°F) but does not release carbon dioxide until it is heated to 80°C (176°F).
The research team continues to modify the new material and make the process more efficient. Their goal is to create a high-capacity carbon dioxide capture system that is efficient, scalable, and recyclable. If they can do this, their method could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.