Gelled Ionic Liquid-Based Membranes

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Boulder, Colorado
Project Term:
02/01/2011 - 07/31/2014

Technology Description:

Alongside Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Electric Power Research Institute, the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder) is developing a membrane made of a gelled ionic liquid to capture CO2 from the exhaust of coal-fired power plants. The membranes are created by spraying the gelled ionic liquids in thin layers onto porous support structures using a specialized coating technique. The new membrane is highly efficient at pulling CO2 out of coal-derived flue gas exhaust while restricting the flow of other materials through it. The design involves few chemicals or moving parts and is more mechanically stable than current technologies. The team is now working to further optimize the gelled materials for CO2 separation and create a membrane layer that is less than 1 micrometer thick.

Potential Impact:

If successful, CU-Boulder's design would create a membrane that captures CO2 at a cost of less than $20 per ton, a level significantly lower than current-generation technologies.


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.


Enabling cost-effective carbon capture systems could accelerate their adoption at existing power plants.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ping Liu
Project Contact:
Prof. Richard Noble
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Los Alamos National Laboratory
Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI)

Related Projects

Release Date: