Cyclotetrabenzoin Acetate: A Macrocyclic Porous Molecular Crystal for CO2 Separations by Pressure Swing Adsorption


A porous molecular crystal (PMC) assembled by close-packing of macrocyclic cyclotetrabenzoin acetate is an efficient adsorbent for selective CO2 capture. The 7.1´7.1 Å square pore of PMC and its ester C=O group play important roles in improving its affinity for CO2 molecules. Thermodynamically, the benzene walls of macrocycle strongly promote CO2 adsorption via [p···p] interactions at low pressure. In addition, the polar carbonyl groups pointing inward the square channels reduce the size of aperture to a 5.0´5.0 Å square, which offers kinetic selectivity for CO2 capture. The PMC features water tolerance and high structural stability under vacuum and various gas adsorption conditions, which are rare among intrinsically porous organic molecules. In mixed-gas breakthrough experiments, it exhibits efficient CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 separations under kinetic flow conditions. Most importantly, the moderate adsorbate–adsorbent interaction allows the PMC to be readily regenerated, and therefore applied to pressure swing adsorption (PSA) processes. The eluted N2 and CH4 are obtained with over 99.9% and 99.8% purity, respectively, and the separation performance is stable for 30 cycles. Coupled with its easy synthesis, these properties make cyclotetrabenzoin acetate a promising adsorbent for CO2 separations from flue and natural gases.


Supplementary material

CO2 Separation-ESI-020421