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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Engineered Transport in Microporous Materials and Membranes for Clean Energy Technologies.


Many forward-looking clean-energy technologies hinge on the development of scalable and efficient membrane-based separations. Ongoing investment in the basic research of microporous materials is beginning to pay dividends in membrane technology maturation. Specifically, improvements in membrane selectivity, permeability, and durability are being leveraged for more efficient carbon capture, desalination, and energy storage, and the market adoption of membranes in those areas appears to be on the horizon. Herein, an overview of the microporous materials chemistry driving advanced membrane development, the clean-energy separations employing them, and the theoretical underpinnings tying membrane performance to membrane structure across multiple length scales is provided. The interplay of pore architecture and chemistry for a given set of analytes emerges as a critical design consideration dictating mass transport outcomes. Opportunities and outstanding challenges in the field are also discussed, including high-flux 2D molecular-sieving membranes, phase-change adsorbents as performance-enhancing components in composite membranes, and the need for quantitative metrologies for understanding mass transport in heterophasic materials and in micropores with unusual chemical interactions with analytes of interest.

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