Materials for Carbon Capture and Storage

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Materials for carbon capture and storage (CCS) encompass a range of advanced materials and technologies designed to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes or directly from the atmosphere. These materials play a crucial role in mitigating climate change by preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

Impact on climate action

Materials for Carbon Capture and Storage in Advanced Materials play a vital role in climate action by facilitating the capture and sequestration of CO2 emissions. By developing efficient sorbents and membranes, these innovations mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, curb climate change, and contribute to a more sustainable and carbon-neutral future.

Underlying
Technology

  • CO2 Capture Technologies: Various technologies are used to capture CO2, including:
    • Post-combustion capture: This method captures CO2 after the fuel has been burned, typically using chemical solvents or membranes to separate CO2 from other flue gas components.
    • Pre-combustion capture: This method captures CO2 before the fuel is burned, typically by converting the fuel into a mixture of hydrogen and CO2, and then separating the CO2.
    • Oxy-fuel combustion: This method burns fuel in pure oxygen, producing a flue gas stream that is primarily CO2 and water vapor, making CO2 capture easier.
    • Direct air capture (DAC): This technology captures CO2 directly from the atmosphere, offering a way to remove existing CO2 emissions.
  • Adsorbent Materials: Adsorbent materials, such as zeolites, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), and activated carbons, can selectively capture CO2 from gas streams through physical or chemical adsorption processes.
  • Membrane Separation: Membranes with selective permeability can be used to separate CO2 from other gases, such as nitrogen and oxygen.
  • Sorbent Materials: Sorbent materials, such as amine-based solvents, can chemically bind with CO2, allowing for its capture and subsequent release.

TRL : 4-8 (depending on the specific material and application)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • High-Capacity Adsorbents: Researchers are developing new adsorbent materials with higher CO2 adsorption capacities and improved selectivity, enabling more efficient and cost-effective CO2 capture.
  • Advanced Membrane Materials: Innovations in membrane materials are improving the selectivity and permeability of membranes for CO2 separation, enhancing the efficiency of membrane-based capture processes.
  • Novel Sorbent Materials: Researchers are developing new sorbent materials with improved CO2 capture capacity, faster kinetics, and lower energy requirements for regeneration.
  • Direct Air Capture (DAC) Materials: Advancements in DAC materials and technologies are making it more feasible and cost-effective to capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere.
  • CO2 Mineralization: This technology involves converting captured CO2 into stable mineral carbonates, offering a permanent storage solution.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Advanced Adsorbent Materials
  • Next-Generation Membrane Separation
  • Breakthroughs in Sorbent Technology
  • Direct Air Capture (DAC) Innovations
  • Enhanced CO2 Mineralization Techniques
  • Scalable Adsorption Solutions
  • Membrane Permeability Enhancements
  • Sustainable Sorbent Development
  • DAC Materials Optimization
  • CO2 Utilization for Mineral Carbonation
  • Adsorbent Capacity Boosting Strategies
  • Membrane Selectivity Advancements
  • Novel Sorbent Kinetics
  • Adsorbent Regeneration Technologies
  • Membrane Durability Improvements
  • Sorbent Energy Efficiency Solutions

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Climeworks:
    • Technology Enhancement: Climeworks specializes in direct air capture (DAC) technology, which involves capturing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere using specialized sorbent materials.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Climeworks’ DAC technology offers a scalable and modular solution for removing CO2 from the air, enabling carbon-neutral or carbon-negative operations in various industries.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Climeworks serves a range of industries seeking to mitigate their carbon footprint, including transportation, energy production, manufacturing, and agriculture. Their customers include companies, governments, and organizations committed to carbon neutrality and climate action.
  • Carbon Engineering:
    • Technology Enhancement: Carbon Engineering focuses on both DAC technology and carbon capture from industrial sources, utilizing advanced chemical processes and engineered materials to capture CO2 from air or flue gases.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Carbon Engineering’s approach combines DAC with carbon capture from point sources, offering flexible solutions for reducing atmospheric CO2 levels and mitigating climate change.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Carbon Engineering targets a broad range of industries, including energy, oil and gas, transportation, and manufacturing, where carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are crucial for achieving carbon reduction goals.
  • Global Thermostat:
    • Technology Enhancement: Global Thermostat specializes in DAC technology using proprietary sorbent materials and thermal swing processes to capture CO2 from the atmosphere or industrial emissions.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Global Thermostat’s DAC technology is designed to be energy-efficient and cost-effective, offering a scalable solution for carbon capture and utilization (CCU) in various applications.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Global Thermostat serves industries requiring carbon removal and utilization solutions, including power generation, cement production, steelmaking, and chemical manufacturing. Their technology enables these industries to decarbonize their operations and achieve sustainability goals.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is a leader in research on materials for carbon capture and storage (CCS), focusing on the development of novel materials and processes to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial sources and store it safely and permanently.
    • Uniqueness: Their research often involves the design and optimization of sorbent materials, such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), porous carbons, and amine-based materials, for efficient CO2 capture.
    • End-use Applications: MIT’s work has applications in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, and other sources. For example, they’re developing advanced adsorbents for post-combustion carbon capture and solid sorbents for direct air capture of CO2.
  • Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford’s research on materials for carbon capture and storage spans materials chemistry, chemical engineering, and environmental science, with a focus on developing scalable and cost-effective solutions for carbon mitigation.
    • Uniqueness: They are known for their work on developing materials and processes that enable CO2 capture with minimal energy consumption and environmental impact, as well as strategies for long-term CO2 storage.
    • End-use Applications: Stanford’s research finds applications in carbon capture technologies for fossil fuel-based power plants, cement production, and other industrial processes. For instance, they’re exploring novel solvents and membrane materials for pre-combustion carbon capture and geological storage methods for long-term CO2 sequestration.
  • University of California, Berkeley:
    • Research Focus: UC Berkeley’s research on materials for carbon capture and storage combines materials science, chemical engineering, and earth sciences to develop innovative approaches for mitigating CO2 emissions.
    • Uniqueness: Their research often involves the synthesis and characterization of novel materials, such as nanoporous polymers, zeolites, and hybrid materials, tailored for CO2 capture and storage applications.
    • End-use Applications: UC Berkeley’s work has applications in carbon capture from industrial processes, as well as natural gas purification and utilization. For example, they’re investigating nanoporous materials for selective CO2 capture from flue gases and developing catalytic processes for converting captured CO2 into value-added products.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Several CCS projects are in operation or under development around the world, primarily in the power generation and industrial sectors. For example, the Petra Nova project in Texas captures CO2 from a coal-fired power plant and uses it for enhanced oil recovery.