Promethean Particles is working with Drax and the University of Nottingham to pioneer the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for energy-efficient carbon capture.

The three organisations are collaborating on a UKCCSRC-funded project called PICASSO – Pilot Scale Carbon Capture using Solid Sorbents. As part of the project, Promethean and the University have developed a pilot carbon capture rig that aims to show the carbon dioxide adsorption and separation performance of MOFs in the presence of actual flue gas.

“We are all becoming increasingly aware of the challenges involved in trying to reverse the negative effects of climate change,” said James Stephenson, Chief Executive Officer at Promethean. “Not only do we need more decarbonisation solutions like carbon capture, but we need more energy-efficient ones. Our work with Drax and the University is a crtical initial step to develop data and validatie our hypotheses on the performance of MOFs in an actual post-combustion environment.”

MOFs were first developed in the late 1990s and more than 90,000 different structures have so far been reported. When it comes to carbon capture applications, their high surface areas, thermal stability, tuneable selectivity and low energy of desorption make them an excellent candidate to disrupt some of the existing technologies, such as amine scrubbing.

“The interest in MOFs has been rapidly accelerating over the past few years, driven by the need for more energy-efficient carbon capture,” said Prof Ed Lester, founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Promethean. “MOFs have shown incredible potential for this application but have so far not made the in-roads expected, mainly due to concerns about available scale and cost. Through our work at Promethean and our patented continuous flow reactors, we are pioneering a paradigm shift in unlocking the potential of these materials.”

This first project at Drax’s power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, aims to establish initial performance data within their specilaised technology incubation area. Drax is aiming to become carbon-negative through its pioneering use of biomass energy with carbon capture (BECCS). All parties hopeful the trial will lead to larger projects over the coming years as we drive MOFs towards full-scale industrial deployment at the gigaton capture scale.