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Novel Approaches to Carbon Capture: Biomimetic Absorption and Solar Desorption

  • Author(s): Nguyen, Du
  • Advisor(s): Esser-Kahn, Aaron
  • et al.

Global climate change is one of the most pressing issues that we currently face. With

atmospheric CO2 level reaching 400 ppm, they are higher now than at any point in the

last 800,000 years. However, the reduction of CO2 emissions remains a signicant challenge. Current CO2 capture technologies are estimated to increase the cost of energy by 80%. As a result, we seek to nd less costly methods of capturing CO2 from point sources by looking at improving current CO2 capture solvent absorption and desorption eciency. CO2 absorption can be made more ecient by looking towards the avian lung. In that system, hierarchically structured capillaries with high specic surface areas enable more ecient mass transport. We have developed mass transport devices that use these principles for ecient capture of CO2 using a sacricial element fabrication technique. CO2 desorption can be enhanced through the use of waste heat and light absorbing nanoparticles. Microstructures could be formed around hot surfaces in order to capture the emitted waste heat. The smaller size scale of the structures enables more ecient use of the waste heat. Carbon black nanoparticles can generate high local heat gradients in the presence of light. The localized photothermal heat generation enable the use of solar energy to drive CO2 desorption in capture uids in order to reduce energy costs.

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