Flexible Funding 2021: Enrico Andreoli’s Scale up of F4_MIL-140(Ce) for next generation carbon capture (F4-Next-CC)

We’re pleased to share a blog report from one of our Flexible Funding 2021 investigators, Enrico Andreoli, who led the F4-Next-CC project. Here’s what the team have to say about their research:

“Scalable CO2 sorbent materials are a cornerstone for global deployment of the next generation of carbon capture technologies. Current processes primarily employ liquid-based amines hampered by chemical stability, corrosion, and volatility issues, as well as high energy of regeneration. With our collaborators, we endeavoured to produce solid sorbents that promise to be more stable, less energy-intensive and easier to operate.

A metal-organic framework called F4_MIL-140(Ce) was prepared on a small lab scale following a previous recipe, to then be scaled up to a large lab scale for the first time successfully. Indeed, we have achieved a 770-fold scale up from 150 mg to 135 g with commercial reagents in water at room temperature using readily available equipment. We have also been able to prepare pellets in a form that facilitates handling and operation during carbon capture.

3 photos showing the process of creating pellets for carbon capture

The material is not only easy to make but also has very attractive carbon capture properties. A kilogram of F4_MIL-140(Ce) can uptake more than a hundred grams of CO2 (1 bar, 25 oC) with high selectivity (CO2/N2 ~ 2000). It also has a distinctive CO2 adsorption behaviour, where saturation of the pores occurs over a narrow range of pressure, achieving a large working capacity with a low regeneration energy penalty. The density of the material is also ideal (2.2 kg/L) in terms of high volumetric CO2 capacity, reduced footprint and cost, both capital and operational. Nonetheless, upon scale-up we observed a drop in CO2 sorption capacity; despite this, there is certainly scope for optimisation to make larger batches of more crystalline material with higher CO2 sorption capacity, which we plan to test in an industrial environment.

As a part of this funding call, we were delighted to collaborate with Dr Marco Taddei at the University of Pisa – who has been working with F4_MIL-140(Ce) since its discovery – and with Immaterial Ltd – who provided preliminary insight into the cost of industrial scale up of the material (200 tonnes a year). We are very grateful for their contributions.”

Thanks to Enrico and team for the report! See more on the project here.