Integrated Electrochemical Processes for CO2 Capture and Conversion to Commodity Chemicals


Schematic diagram of the integrated process to<br/>capture CO<sub>2</sub> and utilize it as a raw material to produce<br/>useful commodity chemicals in an energy efficient manner.
Schematic diagram of the integrated process to
capture CO2 and utilize it as a raw material to produce
useful commodity chemicals in an energy efficient manner.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Website:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Award Number:  FE0004271
Project Duration:  10/01/2010 – 09/30/2013
Total Award Value:  $1,500,111
DOE Share:  $1,200,000
Performer Share:  $300,111
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse
Key Technology: 
Location:  Cambridge, Massachusetts

Project Description

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Siemens investigated the feasibility of integrating CO2 from emission sources (power plants, manufacturing facilities, cement plants, or fertilizer facilities) into a chemical reaction process that creates organic carbonate commodity chemicals for later use. The researchers also designed electrochemical processes which allow for continuous capture of CO2 followed by cyclic organic carbonate synthesis using organocatalysts. They conducted multiple lifecycle analyses of the electrochemical process and commodity chemicals synthesized during chemical CO2 storage process. The basis of the capture technology is the chemical affinity of electrochemically active carriers for CO2 molecules. These carriers facilitate the effective capture of CO2 from a dilute gas stream (effluents from CO2 emitters) through the formation of chemically activated species. The organocatalytic CO2 conversion processes have been demonstrated to be a high-yielding continuous sysnthesis for the production of cyclic carbonates from CO2 and epoxide as well as an efficient cyclic carbonate synthesis from CO2 and olefins.

Project Benefits

This chemical storage of CO2 helps to minimize CO2 emissions and supplement geologic CO2 storage, particularly in areas where such storage might not be a viable option. The MIT technologies have the potential to capture CO2 from industrial carbon emitters and utilize the CO2 as a raw material to produce useful commodity chemicals in an energy efficient process. The added value of this research includes integrated, CO2 capture and chemical storage; production of various commodity chemicals depending on the reagents used; and minimal energy requirements. This technology contributes to the Carbon Storage Program’s effort of developing cost effective methods for CO2 use and re-use, as a viable alternative to geologic carbon storage.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
William O'Dowd:
Technology Manager 
Traci Rodosta:
Principal Investigator 
Alan Hatton:

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