- “It's a great advantage to have a method that can quickly
and accurately compute CO2 solubility in any solvent, especially
under the range of pressures and temperatures as would be found
in a coal-fired power plant,” Maiti said. “With ionic
liquids serving as the solvent, the process could be a lot cleaner
and more accessible than what is used today.”
devises cleaner way to capture carbon dioxide
Washington, July 23, 2009
An Indian-American physicist has devised a cleaner and more efficient
way of capturing carbon dioxide from its polluting source, like
coal-fired power plants.
Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) researcher Amitesh Maiti
has come up with a screening method that would use ionic liquids
-- molten salt that becomes liquid under the boiling point of water
(100 degrees Celsius) -- to separate carbon dioxide from its source.
Using ionic liquids as a separation solvent has unique advantages
over traditional solvents, said Maiti, who did his BSc in physics
(honours) from the University of Calcutta in 1986 and his Ph.D,
in condensed matter physics, at University of California, Berkeley,
There are major efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from
burning fossil fuel, as carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse
gas that is leading to global warming. But before it can be sequestered,
the carbon dioxide must first be separated from its source, a step
known as "capture". This new technique could significantly
enhance the efficiency of the carbon dioxide capture process.
Currently, the few coal plants with commercial carbon dioxide capture
capability all use processes based on chemical absorption with monoethanolamine
(MEA), a general-purpose solvent developed by chemists some 75 years
Unfortunately, it is non-selective, corrosive, requires the use
of large equipment, and effective only under low to moderate partial
pressures of carbon dioxide.
Maiti's new system overcomes many of these shortcomings. Over the
past few years, several ionic liquids have been tested to be efficient
solvents for carbon dioxide.
"By creating a computational tool that can decipher ahead
of time which ionic liquids work best to separate carbon dioxide,
it can be a much more efficient process when field tests are conducted."
Maiti's research featured as the cover story in a recent issue
of ChemSusChem, a new journal focused on chemistry and sustainability.