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Polymeric Sorbent for Use in CO2 Capture and Separation

Date Posted
USPN 10,323,125


Research is active on the design, synthesis, and use of polymeric sorbents for gas separation applications. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.


Currently available gas separation materials have limitations, including poor chemical and thermal stability under practical CO2 capture processes, low CO2 uptake and/or high CO2 uptake with additional energy requirement at the desorption step, low CO2 separation performance over other gasses present in the gas stream, high energy output to release capture CO2, and complex material design and preparation processes.

This invention describes the design, synthesis, and use of a new polymeric sorbent (polybenzimidazole, BILP-101) for CO2 capture and separation from mixed gas streams. The polymer is synthesized using a template-free polycondensation reaction between commercially available aryl aldehyde and amine-based monomers. Evaluation of BLIP-101 under realistic test conditions demonstrated a sorbent material with exceptional CO2 uptake/working capacity, high CO2 selectivity, as well as superior chemical and thermal stability. The simplified fabrication process will allow for easier commercial scale up at an overall lower production cost. Furthermore, while the neat BILP-101 is a strong physical sorbent, reactivity of the material can be tuned for stronger interaction with CO2 as a chemical sorbent. Possible applications for this technology may include CO2 capture from fossil fueled power plants, natural gas sweetening, biogas updgrading, and CO2 removal from cabin air for life support systems.

  • Commercially available monomers are used in the fabrication process, making it practical for commercial production at potentially low cost
  • The synthesis process results in a very high yield (>90%) of sorbent material
  • Polymer shows the lowest pore size distribution and record high microporosity of all polybenzimidazoles reported to date
  • Sorbent displays the highest concentration of imidazole functionalities compared to other porous polymers, which provides more sites for interaction with CO2
  • Sorbent demonstrates very high CO2 uptake of 4 weight percent at 0.15 bar and 298K in its neat form, and the double amount in a functionalized form
  • Polymer has very high selectivity for CO2 with performance that exceeds all reported selectivity and CO2 uptake of polybenzimidazoles under similar conditions
  • Sorbent exhibits very high chemical (humidity/acid/base) and thermal (up to 500 °C) stability
  • CO2 working capacity of the material is the highest reported for porous polymeric sorbents and is comparable to the best performing metal-based sorbents
  • The sorbent can efficiently remove water for drying applications
  • Pre- and post-combustion CO2 capture from fossil fueled power production
  • Natural gas sweetening and biogas upgrading
  • CO2 removal from cabin air for life support systems
  • Water removal/desiccant applications
  • Rare earth element recovery, optoelectronics, drug delivery, and heterogeneous catalysts

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