The CoERCe project investigated the feasibility and development of novel molecularly imprinted and non-imprinted hypercrosslinked-based polymeric CO2 adsorbents, to be integrated within small to medium-scale industrial CO2 producer, for simultaneous energy recovery and CO2 removal.

Key Facts

    • Over a period of one year, polymeric based absorbents with novel formulation were developed, and the feasibility of material for selectively capturing CO2 from flue gases was proven
    • The commercially proven emulsion-based production processes namely, membrane emulsification and suspension polymerisation were used to synthetise imprinted and non-imprinted hypercrosslinked polymeric absorbents with controlled morphology. Therefore, the absorbents had optimum morphology and could be directly used in realistic CO2 capture systems, without any further downstream processing
    • This project advanced our understanding on exploiting and integrating emulsion science for scalable production of energy-based material with tuneable morphology
  • Funded by £148,757 Cranfield's income (£298,469 total project) Partners CEAD, ETL, and Loughborough University Dates August 2015 - August 2016 Sponsor Innovate UK

Impact of our research

The combined energy recovery and CO2 removal approach proposed in this project is targeted at commercial and industrial sectors with particular emphasis on biomass, although it can be applied across all scales and fuel sources. It is distinguished by UK government that decarbonised biomass power generators is the only low carbon technology that could offer permanent CO2 removal from atmosphere. 

The proposed technology consists of a novel highly selective solid CO2 sorbent material that can adsorb targeted molecules, in this case CO2, with lower energy input for recovering the CO2. In addition, the current emulsion-based synthesised approach allows mass production of the material. Therefore, this strategy has the potential to economically facilitate the decarbonisation of commercial and industrial sectors, and address the current energy-intensive approaches for CO2 removal. 

Consequently, the potential to produce “carbon negative” biomass burners is likely to accelerate sales to the industrial and commercial medium scale producers of CO2 targeted by this project.

A new proposal, for the second stage of CoERCe project, has been submitted to the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Why the research was commissioned

On a massive scale, the economics of carbon capture and storage are viable although major additional power is required to capture and process the CO2, sometimes up to 30-40% more. The problem facing policy-makers is that industrial and commercial CO2 emissions, although smaller and more fragmented, account for broadly similar amounts of carbon pollution to the large point source generators. 

However, without the massive scale of a large point generating source, industrial carbon capture systems are too expensive and the demand for them is relatively small. The growth in Biomass generators for power generation and CHP also requires technology development in carbon capture which currently restricts its growth. Therefore, small-to-medium carbon capture systems need a lower cost, more effective CO2 capture material with lower energy input demands than offered by the current state-of-the-art, that is required to be investigated as the aim of this project.

Why Cranfield?

Cranfield University has a world-leading reputation in energy technologies and specifically in carbon capture. We have already completed two initial studies into the synthesis of polymeric CO2 adsorbents on a small scale through two feasibility grants funded by Bio-Thermal Red Programme (£4K) and the Low Carbon Keep Programme (£36K). In addition, Cranfield university has solid expertise in collaborating with diverse partners. 

We proved the feasibility of a novel CO2 capture material, that upon further development could be one of the most promising alternatives for current energy-intensive materials. Therefore, our strategy has the potential to decrease the cost of CO2 capture, and facilitate the reduction of the CO2 emission.