Research highlight

Chemistry: Capturing CO2 released by natural gas extraction

Nature Communications

June 4, 2014

A porous carbon material potentially capable of capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) released during natural gas extraction is reported in Nature Communications this week. Continued development of this technology may have implications for the capture and long term storage of carbon dioxide from natural gas streams.

Raw natural gas typically contains a large proportion of CO2 that must be separated; a process that at present relies on chemical scrubbing, in which the CO2 is dissolved into cold solutions of amines.

James Tour and colleagues have demonstrated that carbon-sulphur and carbon-nitrogen based porous materials are capable of CO2 capture. The process involves polymerization of the CO2 in the material’s pores under conditions similar to those found in a gas well environment. This polymerization is shown to occur at the industrially relevant pressures of 200-300 bar, and can be reversed when the pressure is released.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms4961

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