Researchers have set a record for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS)


Researchers from Monash University and the CSIRO have set a record for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) using technology that resembles a sponge filled with tiny magnets.

Using a Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) nanocomposite that can be regenerated with remarkable speed and low energy cost, researchers have developed sponge-like technology that can capture carbon dioxide from a number of sources, even directly from air.

The magnetic sponge is used to remove carbon dioxide using the same techniques as induction cooktops using one-third of the energy than any other reported method.

Associate Professor Matthew Hill (CSIRO and Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University) and Dr. Muhammad Munir Sadiq (Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University) led this research.

In the study, published in Cell Reports Physical Science, researchers designed a unique adsorbent material called M-74 CPT@PTMSP that delivered a record low energy cost of just 1.29 MJ kg-1CO2 , 45 per cent below commercially deployed materials, and the best CCS efficiency recorded.

MOFs are a class of compounds consisting of metal ions that form a crystalline material with the largest surface area of any material known. In fact, MOFs are so porous that they can fit the entire surface of a football field in a teaspoon.

This technology makes it possible to store, separate, release or protect valuable commodities, enabling companies to develop high value products.

“Global concerns on the rising level of greenhouse gas emissions and the associated environmental impact has led to renewed calls for emissions reduction and the development of green and renewable alternative energy sources,” Associate Professor Hill said.

“However, existing commercial carbon capture technologies use amines like monoethanolamine, which is highly corrosive, energy intensive and captures a limited amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

“Our research shows the lowest reported regeneration energy calculated for any solid porous adsorbent, including monoethanolamine, piperazine and other amines. This makes it a cheap method that can be paired with renewable solar energy to capture excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“Essentially, we can capture CO2 from anywhere. Our current focus is for capture directly from the air in what are known as negative emissions technologies.”

For MOFs to be used in CCS applications, it is essential to have materials that can be easily fabricated with good stability and performance.

The stability of M-74 CPT@PTMSP was evaluated by estimating the amount of CO2 and H2O captured and released via the researchers’ magnetic induction swing adsorption (MISA) process over 20 consecutive cycles.

The regeneration energy calculated for M-74 CPT@PTMSP is the lowest reported for any solid porous adsorbent. At magnetic fields of 14 and 15 mT, the regeneration energy calculated for M-74 CPT was 1.29 and 1.44 MJ kg CO2-1.

Global warming is a widely known problem discussed since 1960 after publishing of the Manua Loa Observatory’s monitoring results, Hawaii [1]. During the past half of the century, several solutions were proposed, one of them is the implementation of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The CCS technology involves carbon capturing at industrial facilities (gas and coal-fired power plants, cement plants, etc.), and its storage in geological reservoirs (depleted oil fields, saline formations, coal beds), or further use in production (Carbon Capture and Utilization – CCU).

During recent years, the CCS projects have shown that they can be economically viable, providing certain conditions are created and they can reduce CO2 emissions [2]. Although, just a while ago, their large-scale implementation was out of the question due to insufficient knowledge, specific risks, capital intensity, inadequate regulatory and legal framework, and absence of efficient mechanisms for carbon markets management.

Even though several countries (for example, China, USA, Australia) have managed to overcome such negative factors; today, implementation of the CCS projects slows down due to insufficient support from the government [3].

Therefore, it is important to involve new countries in the CCS technologies studies, and their capability for a large-scale implementation of such projects, to restrain annual growth of CO2 emissions. This especially relates to the leading producers of CO2 emissions, such as Russia, where the CCS projects are not considered, even in scientific papers.

Assuming the fact that the CCS projects are efficient, the experience of early countries that adopted the technology shows that negative public perception could be one of the barriers for its large-scale implementation, as experts or politicians usually have a neutral or positive opinion [4].

This is reasonable not only for CCS but also for all environmental technologies in general, as humans that are the source of pollution. Industrial operations themselves would not produce such a negative impact on the environment if the persons taking decisions strived to find a balance between economic efficiency and environmental safety, which is one of the fundamental principles of sustainable development.

Today, despite the fact that the CCS projects are implemented in different countries, the available scientific background is focused on two issues: studies of the CCS public perception, sometimes, in the regions where no pilot projects are implemented, but the public interest exists [5]; and global discussion related to the development of environmental technologies, namely CCS. At the same time, there is no connection between these two research groups, which would enable the transition from a global rhetoric to practice [6].

5–7 years ago, CCS was a young technology, and the scientists had to rely on the achievements in the field of public perception of more mature technologies (mainly, nuclear energy [7, 8]).

Now the CCS technology has enough scientific background. Besides, until the present time, social studies, with some exceptions, were based on a predictive approach to the CCS public perception assessment.

Today there is a long overdue need in the development of proactive social studies in this field focused on the justification of approaches providing an objective knowledge and creating a fair image of CCS technologies for public [9], including the countries, where a CCS project is only prepared for implementation.

Based on the above mentioned, we consider it logical to step back and consolidate available knowledge in this field.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to formulate the main principles of the CCS public perception development based on the global experience in the technologies perception assessment and extend it with Russian point of view on this problem for further implementation.

Practically speaking, this will enable to develop a system of proactive public relations for balancing interests of all stakeholders, to achieve higher project efficiency and to minimize protest risk after the project startup, caused by misconceptions of locals [10].

The following part of this article includes 4 sections. Section 2 describes the selection of articles for the review, and distribution of scientific papers by various characteristics. Section 3 includes 10 subsections (Table 1) each of which is devoted to a separate group of factors that have the greatest impact on the public perception of CCS.

The definition of these groups was carried out on the basis of preliminary analysis of the studies’ results on the assessment of various factors impact on the public perception of CCS (see Appendix 1, column “Aim of the research”).

Comparability and generalization of the results of these studies was possible because the key ideas underlying in most of them are interconnected. Section 4 has a similar structure to Section 3 and includes general outlook; and summary on each aspect of the CCS public perception. Section 5 highlights concluding remarks of the study and further research directions. They will be based on the results obtained herein.

Table 1

Structure of this article.

SubsectionContent and explanation
AwarenessIn this subsection, we analyze the role of awareness in the CCS public perception. The subsection describes factors impacting on information sharing process, and possible ways of public awareness improvement. Public awareness of CCS implies the existence of fair knowledge about the nature of the technology, the causes, and consequences of its use, its strengths, and weaknesses, as well as benefits and risks.
KnowledgeSince CCS is not a thoroughly studied technology, we consider the problems of providing the necessary knowledge on its nature to the public. By knowledge, we mean the public ability to understand available information about global warming and climate mitigation technologies.
NIMBYCCS is analyzed in terms of its susceptibility to the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) effect, which may be defined as “social rejection of facilities, infrastructure, and services location, which are socially necessary but have a negative connotation” [11].
Benefits and risks perceptionThe key factors influencing on benefits and risks perception are described, and the relation between this perception and public attitude towards CCS is analyzed. By benefits/risks perception we mean the subjective judgment that people make about the characteristics and significance of consequences (positive or negative, respectively) for themselves and their environment.
Socio-demographic factorsThe subsection determines the role of socio-demographic factors in CCS perception development. Taking into account the specifics of large-scale environmental projects, as well as the strong dependence of CCS project implementation on the mood of local public, this section considers the following aspects related to the social and demographic characteristics of the population: age, gender, education level, religion, expectations and values of people, as well as mentality and cultural specific.
Willingness to pay for CCSHere we review the papers containing an assessment of public willingness to pay for energy rates growth due to the implementation of environmentally friendly technologies.
TrustThe subsection content can be described as follows: “trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another” [12].
Acceptance and Preferences between TechnologiesComparative analysis of public preferences related to the development of low-carbon technology packages, including CCS, or when several separate technologies are compared.
Governmental Policy and Interaction between StakeholdersAnalysis of the state policy influence on the CCS perception, and the role of individual stakeholders and their associations in public relations.
Cross-Country OutlookComparative analysis of the CCS status in different countries.

More information: Cell Reports Physical ScienceDOI: 10.1016/j.xcrp.2020.100070


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