Researchers from Stockholm University developed chemical structures that are uniquely capable of removing carbon dioxide from gas mixtures.
The zeolites — or semi-porous solids — rapidly absorbed carbon dioxide from biogas and natural gas, which could eventually increase the value of those fuels and represent a first step toward carbon capture capabilities.
Zeolites are currently used in a variety of industrial processes, including generating oxygen from compressed air in airplanes and hospitals. The study, however, said that the newly engineered materials are the most complex zeolite structures ever developed.
Scientists also said that the zeolites were created through a combined process of prediction and chemical synthesis, a novel approach that could eventually improve production of other functional materials.
"It has been the dream of zeolite scientists to be able to predict a structure expected for a desired application and then to synthesize it — similar to the way that organic chemists make new drug molecules," said Stockholm University Professor Xiaodong Zou. "We have made an important step towards that direction."
The findings were published in the journal Nature.