Scientists have created molecular cells within a polymer to capture harmful sulfur dioxide contamination, to transform it into useful compounds and to reduce waste and emissions.
Unique new material, developed by international collaboration of scientists, has proven that it can help reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions into the environment by selectively trapping molecules in minimally engineered cells. The trapped toxic gas can then be safely released for conversion into useful industrial products and processes.
About 87% of sulfur dioxide emissions are the result of human activity, usually produced by power plants, other industrial facilities, trains, ships, etc. heavy equipment and can be harmful to human health and the environment. The international team has developed cell-porous cell-resistant pores, known as Molecular Organic Frames (MOFs), which are designed to release sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas from other gases more efficiently than existing systems.
Professor Martin Schroeder, Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Manchester University, and Dr Sihai Yan, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Manchester University, lead an international research team from the United Kingdom and the United States on this work.
Researchers exposed MOFs to simulated exhaust gases and found that they effectively separated SO2 from the gas mixture at elevated temperatures even in the presence of water.
A study led by the University of Manchester and published in the journal Materials for Nature showed a significant improvement in efficiency over current SO2 capture systems that can produce very solid and liquid waste and only remove y up to 95 percent of toxic gas, the researchers note.
Conducting state-of-the-art structural, dynamic and modeling studies in international facilities such as ISIS and the diamond light source for conducting neutron and X-ray scattering experiments and the advanced light source in Berkeley USA to perform single crystal diffraction they were able to determine accurate measurements of SO2 within the MOF at the molecular level.
The lead author of the research paper, Jem Smith, said that the new material showed adsorption of SO2 higher than any other porous material known to date. This work is unprecedented as the new material is noticeably resistant to SO2 exposure, even in the presence of water, and the adsorption is completely reversible at room temperature.
"Our material has been proven to be extremely resistant to corrosive SO2 and can effectively separate it from wet waste gas streams. Importantly, the regeneration stage is very energy efficient compared to those reported in other studies; SO2 captured can be released at room temperature for conversion into useful products, while the metal-organic framework can be reused for many more separation cycles. "
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Reversible coordinating binding and separation of sulfur dioxide in a solid metal-organic framework with open copper sites, Nature Materials (201
University of Manchester
Conversion of sulfur dioxide from harmful to beneficial (2019, October 19)
retrieved 19 October 2019
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