The combustion of fossil fuels for energy generation and transportation has led to steadily rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere and consequently, global climate change. This concern has become a major driving force for a larger share of renewable energy in power generation and for electrifying transportation. However, post-combustion carbon capture remains a critical bridging technology to reduce CO2 emissions because of the long lifetime of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants as well as the current, relatively modest use of renewable energy sources. In addition, pre-combustion carbon capture will continue to be an important part of the clean-coal technology. Removal of CO2 from natural gas is an increasingly important component of energy generation, especially given the current shale-gas boom. Novel materials hold the key to energy-efficient carbon capture, going beyond traditional materials such as amines. Metal-organic frameworks and covalent-organic frameworks are promising large-capacity adsorbents for CO2 while novel polymers such as intrinsically porous polymers can be used in membrane architecture for high-flux CO2 separation. Ionic liquids are novel solvents with tunable CO2 reactivity and negligible vapor pressure that can be used as either a chemical absorbent or a supported liquid membrane. It is the expectation that the composite of these materials either as sorbent or in membrane setup will also bring new opportunities in energy-efficient carbon capture.
This symposium is aimed at bringing together researchers in materials synthesis, gas separations, membrane fabrication, and CO2 removal to highlight recent progresses and discuss challenges and opportunities in the materials aspect of carbon capture.