The Faculty of Engineering, along with University of Nottingham spin-out Promethean Particles, are collaborating with Drax Power Station to pioneer the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to drive more energy-efficient carbon capture.

MOFs show significant potential to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and are a key focus for Promethean. MOFs have a preference to capture CO2 in the presence of other gas molecules and possess incredible surface areas – up to 15,000 m2/g, equivalent to fitting the university’s main campus’ surface area into a coffee cup. As MOFs “trap” CO2 rather than bond to it, they offer high carbon emitters a more energy efficient method for capturing CO2.

Despite this, the use of MOFs has been constrained due to perceptions of a lack of industrial scale and prohibitive economics. Research led by Professor Ed Lester in the Faculty of Engineering resulted in the development of a new continuous flow reactor system that has created a paradigm shift in the availability, cost, and sustainability of MOFs.

“A power station can use up to 35% of the power it generates just to operate a traditional carbon capture plant,” said Professor Lester. “The use of MOFs for this application would represent a positive step-change in energy efficiency, and the technology now at Promethean can uniquely enable this at the scale necessary to tackle one of the world’s biggest problems.”

Promethean Particles, founded on the research of Professor Lester, now owns and operates the world's largest multi-nanomaterial production facility capable of manufacturing MOFs and nanoparticles up to 1,000 tonnes per year.



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