Carbon capture and sequestration
Advanced materials

Innovations in carbon capture: porous materials and atom-thick films


Dec 11, 2023


11:00 - 12:15

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Innovations in carbon capture: porous materials and atom-thick films

Highly porous adsorbent materials for the separation of CO2 from dilute gas streams

The chemical industry consumes ~10 to 15% of global energy in separation processes alone, and this percentage will increase with the implementation of large-scale carbon capture efforts, an event that is partly constrained by the lack of a viable solution to separate CO2 from dilute gas streams. Given this, the development of new porous adsorbents, able to efficiently remove CO2 from gas streams and/or help reduce the energy consumption of other separation processes, is poised to reap huge global benefits through both cost and energy savings and an overall improvement in environmental and human well-being.

In this presentation, a general introduction to targeted classes of porous adsorbents will be given. Moreover, the presentation will outline our recent work on the design of several novel, highly porous adsorbents, their assessment in CO2 capture applications, and the construction of a CO2 capture demonstration unit that will be installed in Valais in 2024. 

Wendy Queen
Prof. Wendy Queen

Associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Functional Inorganic Materials

Wendy Queen completed a PhD in chemistry from Clemson University in 2009. She received a fellowship to study neutron scattering at the NIST Center for Neutron Research, from 2009 to 2012. She was appointed a project scientist at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, from 2012 to 2015. Appointed Assistant Professor in the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering of EPFL in 2015, she was then promoted to Associate Professor in 2022. Her research focuses on the synthesis and characterisation of novel porous adsorbents that are of interest in a number of gas and liquid separations.

Energy-efficient and low-cost carbon capture from atom-thick films

Energy-efficient and low-cost carbon capture from point source emission is crucial for rapid proliferation of capture technology needed to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emission. We focus on engineering ultrathin films, down to the thickness of a single atom, which selectively remove CO2 from N2. In this seminar, I will present synthesis and scale-up of these films, based on porous graphene, and their implementation in membranes for postcombustion capture. I will discuss highly-effective methods to produce these films, and our recent efforts to scale-up membranes for kilogram scale capture. I will discuss engineering challenges for bringing this technology to market. Finally, I will present EPFL Solutions4Sustainability project geared towards tackling carbon capture at the rate of one ton per day. 

Kumar Agrawal
Prof. Kumar Agrawal

Associate professor and Gaznat Chair for Advanced Separations

Kumar Agrawal is chemical engineer by training (IIT Bombay). He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota, developing zeolite membranes for energy-efficient separations of petrochemicals. He got his postdoctoral training at MIT on ice formation in carbon nanotubes at room temperature. At EPFL, he is developing membranes for low-cost carbon capture and is leading EPFL Solutions4Sustainability project for large-scale CCUS demonstrator.

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