Highly selective and stable carbon dioxide uptake in polyindole-derived microporous carbon materials

Muhammad Saleh, Jitendra N Tiwari, K Christain Kemp, Muhammad Yousuf, Kwang S Kim
Environmental Science & Technology 2013 May 21, 47 (10): 5467-73
Adsorption with solid sorbents is considered to be one of the most promising methods for the capture of carbon dioxide (CO₂) from power plant flue gases. In this study, microporous carbon materials used for CO₂ capture were synthesized by the chemical activation of polyindole nanofibers (PIF) at temperatures from 500 to 800 °C using KOH, which resulted in nitrogen (N)-doped carbon materials. The N-doped carbon materials were found to be microporous with an optimal adsorption pore size for CO₂ of 0.6 nm and a maximum (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) BET surface area of 1185 m(2) g(-1). The PIF activated at 600 °C (PIF6) has a surface area of 527 m(2) g(-1) and a maximum CO₂ storage capacity of 3.2 mmol g(-1) at 25 °C and 1 bar. This high CO₂ uptake is attributed to its highly microporous character and optimum N content. Additionally, PIF6 material displays a high CO₂ uptake at low pressure (1.81 mmol g(-1) at 0.2 bar and 25 °C), which is the best low pressure CO₂ uptake reported for carbon-based materials. The adsorption capacity of this material remained remarkably stable even after 10 cycles. The isosteric heat of adsorption was calculated to be in the range of 42.7-24.1 kJ mol(-1). Besides the excellent CO₂ uptake and stability, PIF6 also exhibits high selectivity values for CO₂ over N₂, CH₄, and H₂ of 58.9, 12.3, and 101.1 at 25 °C, respectively, and these values are significantly higher than reported values.

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