Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Rapid and Enhanced Activation of Microporous Coordination Polymers by Flowing Supercritical CO2

Technology #5589

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Researchers
Adam J. Matzger
Managed By
Jeremy Nelson
Patent Protection
US Patent 9,393,548
US Patent Pending

Rapid and enhanced activation of microporous coordination polymers by flowing supercritical CO2

This technology presents a new activation method for microporous coordination polymers (MCPs, or metal organic framework materials, MOFs) by directly flowing supercritical CO2 (SC-CO2) over solvated crystals of MCPs. MCPs have significant commercial potential on sorption technologies, including gas storage, separation, CO2 capture and catalysis. CO2 capture using MCPs, prevents large quantities of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere from fossil fuel use in power generation and helps mitigate the climate change associated with such emission. Beside CO2 capturing, MCPs are also suitable for hydrogen storage. Portable and safe storage of hydrogen will be fundamental to the exploitation of fuel cells for transport. As for catalysis, MCPs can compete with or even outperform the commonly used zeolite catalysts under certain reaction conditions, making it potentially useful in industries of oil refining or petrochemicals. However, the promise of MCPs is hampered by a number of synthetic issues and complexities associated with material activation. For MCP activation, the conventional method involves solvent exchange and SC-CO2 drying. The resulting cost of material synthesis remains prohibitive for widespread commercialization.

Activation by Flowing Supercritical CO2

This technology describes a new method that uses flowing SC-CO2 to activate the MCPs without the solvent exchange step. For MCPs prepared in solvents that lack high solubility in supercritical CO2 [for example, the commonly used N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) and N,N-diethylformamide (DEF) solvents], flowing SC-CO2 is capable of removing the solvent and activate the material without a solvent exchange procedure. This method is rapid, scalable, energy efficient, and environmentally benign. It is especially well suited for streamlining bulk production of MCP materials that are currently unavailable on the market.

Applications

  • Gas storage
  • Gas separation
  • CO2 capture
  • Catalysis

Advantages

  • Eliminates the solvent exchange step, reduces materials and energy costs as well as removes the potential health hazard of using a volatile solvent
  • Scalable for large scale production
  • Environmentally benign