This work provides insight into the local structure of Na in MgO-based CO2 sorbents that are promoted with NaNO3. To this end, we use X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the Na K-edge to interrogate the local structure of Na during CO2 capture (MgO + CO2 ↔ MgCO3). The analysis of Na K-edge XAS data shows that the local environment of Na is altered upon MgO carbonation when compared to NaNO3 in the as-prepared sorbent. We attribute the changes observed in the carbonated sorbent to an alteration in the local structure of Na at the NaNO3/MgCO3 interfaces and/or in the vicinity of [Mg2+···CO32–] ionic pairs that are trapped in the cooled down NaNO3 melt. The changes observed are reversible, i.e. the local environment of NaNO3 was restored after a regeneration treatment to decompose MgCO3 to MgO. The ex situ Na K-edge XAS experiments were complemented by ex situ magic-angle spinning 23Na nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS 23Na NMR), Mg K-edge XAS and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). These additional experiments support our interpretation of the Na K-edge XAS data. Furthermore, we develop in situ Na (and Mg) K-edge XAS experiments during the carbonation of the sorbent (NaNO3 is molten at the conditions of the in situ experiments). These in situ Na K-edge XANES spectra of molten NaNO3 open new opportunities to investigate the atomic scale structure of CO2-sorbents modified with Na-based molten salts using XAS.
Supporting Information for: Probing the dynamics of the local structure of Na in NaNO3-promoted, MgO-based CO2 sorbents via X-ray absorption spectroscopy
Supporting Information: XAS, XRD, TGA analyses