"Environment" research area

Direct Carbon Dioxide Capture for Air Remediation in Minnesota

Primary Investigator - Sam ToanPrimary InvestigatorSam Toan
Co-Investigators: Ian McNicholes (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
Industry Partners: NA
Award Type: Undergraduate Research Scholar 

Problem: The growth in global economies attributed to the emergence of new technologies needed for industrialization and the associated consumption of fossil fuels leads to serious environmental concerns such as climate change, acid rain, and smog formation. Climate change, resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG)– including carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the most prevalent – is considered the most serious.

Solution: We are proposing using a solvent based technology: catalytic amine based sorbent to capture CO2 from air. A metal based catalysts such as TiO(OH)2, Mg(OH)2, NaOH, TiO2, etc. will be used to combine with amine solution to create an effective capture sorbent. In this project, student will investigate the effectiveness of different metal based catalyst combined amine based sorbent for direct air capture. This technology could be used in Minnesota to remove excessive carbon dioxide from the environment, remediating the effects of carbon dioxide in air and the resulting damages to the ecology and human health.

Impact: If succeed, this proposed novel technology will lead into more compact capture units due to the enhanced reaction kinetics and lead to an open door to the second stage of the project: converting CO2 to fossil fuel replacement energy such as ethanol, and butanol. In addition, it can provide a near zero emissions CO2 capture system if the solar energy is integrated in this DAC and conversion scaled up plant. The laboratory-scale proof of concept can then be easily scaled up due to the compact size of the system and its cost-effectiveness. If the proposed technology is successfully demonstrated on a large scale, there is the promise for investments (from both the public and private sectors) for further scale-up and validation that brings us one step closer to achieving negative carbon emissions, while potentially influencing carbon emission policies in both the state of Minnesota and the U.S. The results of this project will also be published in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals.