Reversible Ionic Liquids as Double-Action Solvents for Efficient CO2 Capture
Project No.: DE-NT0005287

In this project, the Georgia Tech Research Corporation is using totally novel chemistryto engender the dramatic changes needed for widespread implementation of CO2 capture in a both environmentally benign and economical process. Current methods of CO2 post-combustion recovery from coal-fired power plants focus on such techniques as absorption in aqueous ethanolamine scrubbers – and this is now a mature technology unlikely to achieve a quantum change in either capacity or cost.

The objective of this project is to develop a novel class of solvents for post-combustion recovery of CO2 from fossil fuel-fired power plants which will achieve a substantial increase in CO2 carrying capacity with a concomitant plummet in cost. The project team is a combination of chemical engineers and chemists with extensive experience in working with industrial partners to formulate novel solvents and to develop processes that are both environmentally benign and economically viable. Further, the team has already developed solvents called “reversible ionic liquids,” essentially “smart” molecules which change properties abruptly in response to some stimulus, and these have quickly found a plethora of applications.

In this project, cutting-edge chemistry will be combined with established methods of implementation to produce a solvent that results in a less-expensive, more energy efficient CO2 scrubbing system. The first step will be to synthesize and characterize optimum molecules for two classes of reversible ionic liquids, one based on silyl amines and one based on guanadines. Structure-property relationships will be used to optimize the structure of these ionic liquids to yield desired thermodynamic and physical properties, ranging from a favorable heat of absorption to a low viscosity. Next, CO2 capture systems using these ionic liquids will be designed and the costs of implementing these systems will be analyzed. Finally, economical methods for commodity scale production of the novel solvents will be developed if they are selected for implementation.

Further, if this novel method for CO2 capture from coal-fired power plants is successful, it could easily be extended to CO2 capture from any other CO2-producing process, such as the burning ‘of other fossil fuels or biofuels, or even for fermentation.

CO2 capture via a single-component, reversible ionic liquid
CO2 capture via a single-component, reversible ionic liquid (Based on a silylated amine mechanism)

Related Papers and Publications:


  • For further information on this project, contact the NETL Project Manager, David Lang.