A team of scientists led by Prof. Kamendra P Sharma of IIT Bombay have recently developed a new porous liquid to capture carbon dioxide.
Porous liquids have been around for several years now after they were first introduced in 2015. At the time, they were produced by inventor James Stuart – one of the co-founders of Porous Liquid Technologies.
The advantage of such liquids as opposed to their porous solid counterparts is that they possess the ability to continuously capture carbon, whereas solids can only do so over a limited amount of time, upon which they need to be replaced.
Of course, this comes at the cost of the quantities of CO2 that can be stored in porous liquids, which are smaller than those of porous solid materials.
The novelty of Stuart’s liquids is that the number of cavities in them is 10,000 times that in conventional fluids. Furthermore, the cavities can be tuned to absorb a particular gas, such as CO2, in this case.
However, the process of creating these liquids has always been quite tedious – until now.
Prof Kamendra P Sharma of IIT Bombay and his team developed a much simpler way to produce porous liquids.
Their process involves the use of a polymer (wetting agent) and hollow silica nanorods, which allows the porous liquid to capture carbon at room temperature.
In addition, to solve the issue of what to do with the captured CO2, the team added a special enzyme to the mix known as bio-conjugated carbonic anhydrase (bCA) and calcium chloride.
The purpose of the enzyme is to react with the CO2 in the cavities of the porous liquid and transform it into bicarbonate ions, which, in turn, react with the calcium ions and are converted to calcium carbonate crystals.
These crystals can then be removed from the liquid and be used in a number of industrial processes, whereas the porous liquid will be ready to capture more CO2.