Stimuli-Responsive Metal Organic Frameworks

Texas A&M University
Stimuli-Responsive Metal Organic Frameworks for Energy-Efficient Post Combustion Capture
Graphic of A&M's technology
ARPA-E Award: 
College Station, TX
Project Term: 
07/01/2010 to 09/30/2012
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Coal-fired power plants provide nearly 50% of all electricity in the U.S. While coal is a cheap and abundant natural resource, its continued use contributes to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. Capturing and storing this CO2 would reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas levels while allowing power plants to continue using inexpensive coal. Carbon capture and storage represents a significant cost to power plants that must retrofit their existing facilities to accommodate new technologies. Reducing these costs is the primary objective of the IMPACCT program.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
A team led by three professors at Texas A&M is developing a subset of metal organic frameworks that respond to stimuli such as small changes in temperature to trap CO2 and then release it for storage. These frameworks are a promising class of materials for carbon capture applications because their structure and chemistry can be controlled with great precision. Because the changes in temperature required to trap and release CO2 in Texas A&M's frameworks are much smaller than in other carbon capture approaches, the amount of energy or stimulus that has to be diverted from coal-fired power plants to accomplish this is greatly reduced. The team is working to alter the materials so they bind only with CO2, and are stable enough to withstand the high temperatures found in the chimneys of coal-fired power plants.
Impact Summary: 
If successful, the materials developed at Texas A&M would reduce the cost of carbon capture, enabling accelerated retrofitting of existing coal-fired power plants while satisfying consumer demand for electricity.
Enabling continued use of domestic coal for electricity generation will preserve the stability of the electric grid.
Carbon capture technology could prevent more than 800 million tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere each year.
Improving the cost-effectiveness of carbon capture methods will minimize added costs to homeowners and businesses using electricity generated by coal-fired power plants for the foreseeable future.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Karma Sawyer
Project Contact: 
Prof. Hongcai Zhou