Aminosilane-grafted polymer/silica hollow fiber adsorbents for CO₂ capture from flue gas

Fateme Rezaei, Ryan P Lively, Ying Labreche, Grace Chen, Yanfang Fan, William J Koros, Christopher W Jones
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2013, 5 (9): 3921-31
Amine/silica/polymer composite hollow fiber adsorbents are produced using a novel reactive post-spinning infusion technique, and the obtained fibers are shown to capture CO2 from simulated flue gas. The post-spinning infusion technique allows for functionalization of polymer/silica hollow fibers with different types of amines during the solvent exchange step after fiber spinning. The post-spinning infusion of 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane (APS) into mesoporous silica/cellulose acetate hollow fibers is demonstrated here, and the materials are compared with hollow fibers infused with poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI). This approach results in silica/polymer composite fibers with good amine distribution and accessibility, as well as adequate porosity retained within the fibers to facilitate rapid mass transfer and adsorption kinetics. The CO2 adsorption capacities for the APS-infused hollow fibers are shown to be comparable to those of amine powders with similar amine loadings. In contrast, fibers that are spun with presynthesized, amine-loaded mesoporous silica powders show negligible CO2 uptake and low amine loadings because of loss of amines from the silica materials during the fiber spinning process. Aminosilica powders are shown to be more hydrophilic than the corresponding amine containing composite hollow fibers, the bare polymer as well as silica support. Both the PEI-infused and APS-infused fibers demonstrate reduced CO2 adsorption upon elevating the temperature from 35 to 80 °C, in accordance with thermodynamics, whereas PEI-infused powders show increased CO2 uptake over that temperature range because of competing diffusional and thermodynamic effects. The CO2 adsorption kinetics as probed via TGA show that the APS-infused hollow fiber adsorbents have more rapid uptake kinetics than their aminosilica powder analogues. The adsorption performance of the functionalized hollow fibers is also assessed in CO2 breakthrough experiments. The breakthrough results show a sharp CO2 front for APS-grafted fibers, indicating fast kinetics with comparable pseudo-equilibrium capacities to the CO2 equilibrium capacities measured via thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The results indicate the post-spinning infusion method provides a new platform for synthesizing composite polymer/silica/amine fibers that may facilitate the ultimate scale-up of practical fiber adsorbents for flue gas CO2 capture applications.

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