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CO2 capture

By Gerald Ondrey |

Chemists from Rice University (Houston; www.rice.edu) are developing an asphalt-based powder that holds 114% of its weight in CO2. The porous material, known as asphalt-porous carbon (A-PC) captures CO2 as it leaves a natural-gas wellhead at room temperature and at the pressures supplied by the rising gas (about 30 atm), while allowing the methane to pass through. The CO2 can then be recovered by simply releasing the pressure. A-PC is made by mixing asphalt with potassium hydroxide at high temperature, and then made into a porous carbon with high (2,780 m2/g) surface area. Further processing with ammonia and then H2 boosted the materials CO2-storage capacity from 93% to 114%. The A-PC is very inexpensive compared to conventional amine-based materials, which can only capture about 13 wt.% of CO2, as well as being corrosive.  
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