University of California, Irvine

To advance electrochemical carbon dioxide capture and concentration technology

  • Amount $1,500,000
  • City Irvine, CA
  • Investigator Jenny Yang
  • Year 2019
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

Direct air capture (DAC) is one of the most exciting and novel advancements in negative emissions science and technology. DAC systems remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere by flowing ambient air through a filter. Sorbent chemicals embedded in the filter bind to the atmospheric CO2, trapping it. The trapped CO2 is subsequently removed from the filter for capture, disposal, or reuse. Doing so, however, requires heating the filter, and thus typically requires proximity to an appropriate heat source. This requirement substantially limits where DAC systems can be sited and increases their carbon footprint, since energy must be expended to produce the needed heat. This grant funds exciting new work by a team led by University of California, Irving chemist Jenny Yang to address this core challenge by exploring new electrochemical processes that would facilitate the capture and concentration of CO2 at room temperature, without the need for added heat. This would allow DAC to take place at ambient temperatures, greatly increasing the range of conditions where DAC systems could be deployed. Yang and her team will identify and test various kinds of electrochemical CO2 capture materials using computational chemistry methods and then use chemistry modeling techniques to determine how well different materials might perform as ambient temperature DAC filter systems. Promising materials will be tested in laboratory-scale CO2 separation chambers to determine their performance under various conditions.

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