A Compact Integrated System for Air Capture of Atmospheric CO2

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Eltron Research, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Although means currently exist to capture CO2 from combustion and other sources, capture at atmospheric levels is difficult. Once captured, CO2 needs to be released in concentrated form and sequestered: e.g., it can be buried under ocean water or in underground vaults, or it can be reacted with basic metal oxides to form metal carbonates. It may also be reduced to methane (another greenhouse gas), which requires compression and cryogenic liquefaction. Thus, the opportunity and need exists for development of new approaches for capturing, sequestering, and utilizing atmospheric CO2. The Phase I approach addressed development of an integrated system for the concomitant capture of CO2 from air and conversion to more valuable product. The system utilizes a new nanostructured adsorbent material which possesses base sites and is electrochemical regenerated, resulting in conversion of captured atmospheric CO2 and water to more valuable products. The adsorbent is integrated with the cathode of an electrochemical cell to concomitantly capture and reduce (electrochemically strip) CO2 while the anode incorporates a hydrogen oxidation electrocatalyst. Reaction of captured CO2 and H2 produced by a separate electrolyzer produces a precursor chemical. Identification of preferred adsorbent, demonstration of core unit operations, and preliminary design of the overall process and system were key Phase I objectives that were met. CO2 adsorbents and integrated cathodes will optimized and a prototype system fabricated and the overall process demonstrated during Phase II. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: There is broad interest in CO2 capture and re-use technologies in anticipation of more regulation. Eltron has received commercial interest in this particular technology by wind power developers seeking to make use of electricity produced off-peak or in excess of local demand.. Consequently, Eltron expects significant commercial interest in the technology upon successful prototype demonstration on the proposed program