$2 Million Grant Awarded for Engineering Research on Carbon Capture

University of Notre Dame engineer will study ionic fluids and their use for carbon capture.

A $2 million US Department of Energy grant has been awarded to a chemical engineer at the University of Notre Dame to pursue research that could fundamentally change the future of energy use and production.

Finding efficient methods to perform carbon dioxide capture and sequestration processes holds big implications for the environment and power generation.  

Various techniques have been researched in the past, including a solid and liquid slurry, baking soda filled polymer beads, ashphalt-based compounds and many more.

Chemical engineer Joan Brennecke (center) with grad students in her lab. (Photo courtesy of University of Notre Dame.)

Chemical engineer Joan Brennecke (center) with grad students in her lab. (Photo courtesy of University of Notre Dame.)

Joan Brennecke, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UND, is studying the potential for ionic liquids, or liquid salts, to improve the efficiency and economics of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture processes.

Using ionic liquids in CO2 capture processes is believed to require less energy than common CO2 capture techniques, such as post-combustion, pre-combustion and oxy-fuel combustion capture methods. The combustion requirements for these processes mean that they require high amounts of energy.

Brennecke and her research team will study the encapsulation of solid compounds that become an ionic liquid when they react with CO2 and turn back into a solid after the CO2 is released.

The team believes that ionic liquids may be a pivotal component for integrated systems that can safely and economically sequester combustion-generated CO2

The liquids show potential to efficiently capture CO2 from the flue gas generated by coal-fired plants, demonstrated by Brennecke and Edward J. Maginn, a professor of energy studies, in a 2004 project sponsored by the DOE’s Energy Technology Laboratory.

For more information on Brennecke’s research on carbon capture, visit the Brennecke Research Group website.