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Advancing CO2 Capture Materials by Atomic Scale Design: the Quest for Understanding

Project description

Development of next generation CO2 sorbents through structural insight

Reducing CO2 emissions is critical to mitigating climate change. A bridging technology is CO2 capture and storage. Recently, alkaline earth metal oxides have emerged as CO2 sorbents that could significantly reduce CO2 capture costs. However, their industrial implementation is hampered by their poor kinetics and deactivation, of which we currently have little understanding. As a result, improvement of the sorbents’ performance has been slow. The EU-funded AMADEUS project aims at obtaining fundamental insight on the reaction pathways and structural changes that determine the sorbents’ CO2 capture performance. It is hoped that this work will pave the way for the design of the next generation of CO2 sorbents.


Carbon dioxide capture and storage is a technology to mitigate climate change by removing CO2 from flue gas streams or the atmosphere and storing it in geological formations. While CO2 removal from natural gas by amine scrubbing is implemented on the large scale, the cost of such process is currently prohibitively expensive. Inexpensive alkali earth metal oxides (MgO and CaO) feature high theoretical CO2 uptakes, but suffer from poor cyclic stability and slow kinetics. Yet, the key objective of recent research on alkali earth metal oxide based CO2 sorbents has been the processing of inexpensive, naturally occurring CO2 sorbents, notably limestone and dolomite, to stabilize their modest CO2 uptake and to establish re-activation methods through engineering approaches. While this research demonstrated a landmark Megawatt (MW) scale viability of the process, our fundamental understanding of the underlying CO2 capture, regeneration and deactivation pathways did not improve. The latter knowledge is, however, vital for the rational design of improved, yet practical CaO and MgO sorbents. Hence this proposal is concerned with obtaining an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that control the ability of an alkali metal oxide to capture a large quantity of CO2 with a high rate, to regenerate and to operate with high cyclic stability. Achieving these aims relies on the ability to fabricate model structures and to characterize in great detail their surface chemistry, morphology, chemical composition and changes therein under reactive conditions. This makes the development of operando and in situ characterization tools an essential prerequisite. Advances in these areas shall allow achieving the overall goal of this project, viz. to formulate a roadmap to fabricate improved CO2 sorbents through their precisely engineered structure, composition and morphology.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 994 900,00
Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 994 900,00

Beneficiaries (1)