“We wanted to think about a carbon capture material that was derived from sources that were really cheap and easy to get. And so, we decided to start with melamine,” said in a statement Jeffrey Reimer, Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the corresponding authors of the paper.
The new melamine porous network is so efficient that it captures carbon dioxide as well as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) but uses much cheaper ingredients that are easier to make and are more energy efficient.
“In this study, we focused on cheaper material design for capture and storage and elucidating the interaction mechanism between CO2 and the material,” Haiyan Mao, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow who is the first author of the paper, said. “This work creates a general industrialization method towards sustainable CO2 capture using porous networks. We hope we can design a future attachment for capturing car exhaust gas, or maybe an attachment to a building or even a coating on the surface of furniture.”
Further research revealed that adding cyanuric acid during the polymerization reaction of the new material increased the pore size dramatically and radically improved CO2 capture efficiency: Subsequent tests showed that nearly all the carbon dioxide in a simulated flue gas mixture was absorbed within about 3 minutes when using this technique.