Selective Capture of Carbon Dioxide from Hydrocarbons Using a Metal-Organic Framework: Relevance to the Purification of Natural Gas and Acetylene

23 July 2020, Version 5
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Efficient and sustainable methods for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture are highly sought after. Mature technologies involve chemical reactions that absorb CO2, but they have many drawbacks. Energy-efficient alternatives may be realized by porous physisorbents with void spaces that are complementary in size and electrostatic potential to molecular CO2. Here, we present a robust, recyclable and inexpensive adsorbent termed MUF-16 (MUF = Massey University Framework). This metal-organic framework captures CO2 with a high affinity in its one-dimensional channels. The position of the CO2 molecules sequestered in the framework pores, as determined by X-ray crystallography, illustrate how complementary noncovalent interactions envelop the CO2 while repelling other guest molecules. The low affinity of the MUF-16 pores for these competing gases underpins new benchmarks for the adsorption of CO2 over methane, acetylene, ethylene, ethane, propylene and propane. IAST calculations show that for 50/50 mixtures at 293 K and 1 bar, the CO2/CH4 selectivity is 6690 and the CO2/C2H2 selectivity is 510, for example. Breakthrough gas separations under dynamic conditions benefit from short time lags in the elution of the weakly-adsorbed component to deliver high-purity hydrocarbon products. Ultimately, MUF-16 may be applicable to the removal of CO2 from sources such as natural gas and chemical feedstocks.


Metal-Organic Frameworks
Gas Separations
CO2 Capture


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