Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs)

A new class of incredible materials – available at industrial scale

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) were discovered in 1965 as waste material from other chemical processes. In the late 1990s, the first permanently porous MOF was discovered and the term “metal-organic framework” was coined. More than 90,000 MOFs have so far been created, with researchers and product developers drawn to their exciting chemical and structural properties, including uniform pore structures, tuneable porosity and flexibility in network topology, geometry, dimension and chemical functionality.


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Incredibly high surface areas
MOFs are either two-or three-dimensional lattices, with surface areas continuing throughout the nanoscale material. Surface areas of up to 7,000 m2/gram have been measured that are10-100 times than those of other high-surface-area materials. A single thumbnail-sized pellet of one of our MOFs has the same su rface area as two tennis courts!
High thermal and chemical stabilities

In many applications, thermal cycling of the adsorbent is required to regenerate it once saturated. MOFs can be engineered to ex cel when repeatedly used in both heating and cooling cycles. Careful selection of the metal and ligands can allow high chemical robustness and thermal degradation points many times higher than any realistic regeneration temperature.

Tuneable selectivity

MOFs offer nearly infinite metal and ligand combinations, which allows extreme tuneability when compared to zeolites, activated carbons and similar high-surface-area materials.

Low energy of desorption

As solution-based systems, MOFs regenerate easily due to their low energy of desorption–that is, the energy required to release an adsorbed substance from their surface. MOFs can be engineered to tune the energy of desorption to desired ranges for both optimal affinity and selectivity of adsorbents.

Inherent recyclability

During repeated use, the MOF crystal structure may be damaged, but the metals and organic linkers that make up the lattice remain virtually intact. Dissolving the crystal can allow these “building blocks” to be recovered, so fresh MOFs can be generated using recycled precursors. MOFs can thus be a key part in solutions that advance a circular economy.

Metal Organic Frameworks

What are MOFs?

MOFs are organic-inorganic crystalline structures consisting of metal ions and organic linker molecules (ligands). They have extremely high porosity and surface area, up to 7,000 m2/g – or, put another way, the surface area of one gram of metal-organic framework would cover an entire football field!

The nearly limitless choice of metals and linkers allows incredible tuneability of pore shape and size. The cage- like structure contributes to the high surface area of MOFs, just one of their many advantageous properties. This structure can act like a sieve to selectively trap or adsorb certain chemical species.

We are seeing significant commercial interest in MOFs for gas storage and separation, purification, electrochemical energy storage and sensing. Our continuous hydrothermal synthesis route of manufacture lends itself well to the commercial production of MOFs, which have historically been very expensive. We also work with many research institutions on the development of new MOFs, as well as the translation of batch to continuous manufacturing methods.

Need help unlocking the potential of your MOF?

Promethean scientists have decades of experience scaling MOFs and nanomaterials from inefficient batch processes to our continuous manufacturing method, whilst retaining critical quality and performance characteristics of the material.

We can help unlock the potential of your MOF – increasing scale and reducing costs so that industrial viabity can become a reality.

MOF structures demonstrated in continuous flow

Other MOFs not described here are also available. Please contact us to discuss an specific requirements you may have.


  • High affinity for polar guest species (e.g., CO2) in gas streams of minimal water content

MIL-53 (Al)

  • Very robust MOF that tolerates a wide range of temperatures and conditions
  • Can be tuned via linker functionalisation to alter its selectivity

Aluminium Fumarate

  • Relatively low-cost MOF material
  • Applications: water capture/heat transfer


  • A highly stable material
  • Applications: capture of hydrophobic guest species and hydrocarbon separations (e.g., alkane/alkene separations)


  • Similar structure to ZIF-8, with slightly different selectivity due to the different metal centre used

CPO-27 (Ni) / MOF-74 (Ni)

  • Similar applications to HKUST-1, but tolerates water much better
  • Excellent cycle-to-cycle stability in CO2 capture applications

CPO-27 (Zn) / MOF-74 (Zn)

  • Similar applications to CPO-27 (Ni)
  • Slightly lower CO2 capacity than CPO-27 (Ni), but with a lower cost and a higher selectivity for some other chemical species

MIL-100 (Fe)

  • Useful for gas separation applications due to multiple pore sizes in its structure
  • Can also be used for water capture, which is particularly interesting due to the low regeneration energy required


  • “Amorphous” variant of MIL-100 (Fe)
  • Lower surface area than MIL-100 (Fe), but with a higher density of defect sites, improving its ability to uptake some polar species
  • Additional applications in catalysis

Temperature-swing Carbon Capture using
Metal-organic Frameworks

Temperature swing is just one method that can be used for solid sorbents systems. Independent beds of MOF are alternatively heated and cooled to establish the appropriate conditions for either capture or regeneration. Click the link to see a graphical illustration of how a temperature-swing adsorption process can employ MOFs for energy-efficient carbon capture.

Promethean and Captivate Annouce New MOF Scale-up Collaboration

MUF-16 was developed by Captivate, a spin-out from Massey University in New Zealand, and is an exciting new MOF structure that is extremely well suited for large-scale carbon capture and storage (“CCS”) projects.

MOFs for Carbon Capture and Storage
White Paper

Novel approaches to carbon capture are a necessity to tackle the accelerating negative impacts of man-made climate change. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a promising, cost-effective candidate to help solve this problem.

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Promethean Appoints 2 New Techncial Scientists