Dendritic silver self-assembly in molten-carbonate membranes for efficient carbon dioxide capture

Liam A. McNeil, Greg A. Mutch, Francesco Iacoviello, Josh J. Bailey, Georgios Triantafyllou, Dragos Neagu, Thomas S. Miller, Evangelos I. Papaioannou, Wenting Hu, Dan J.L. Brett, Paul R. Shearing, Ian S. Metcalfe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Membranes for CO2 capture should offer high permeant fluxes to keep membrane surface area small and material requirements low. Ag-supported, dual-phase, molten-carbonate membranes routinely demonstrate the highest CO2 fluxes in this class of membrane. However, using Ag as a support incurs high cost. Here, the non-equilibrium conditions of permeation were exploited to stimulate the self-assembly of a percolating, dendritic network of Ag from the molten carbonate. Multiple membrane support geometries and Ag incorporation methods were employed, demonstrating the generality of the approach, while X-ray micro-computed tomography confirmed that CO2 and O2 permeation stimulated self-assembly. We report the highest flux of Ag-supported molten-salt membranes to date (1.25 ml min-1 cm-2 at 650 °C) and ultrahigh permeability (9.4 × 10-11 mol m-1 s-1 Pa-1), surpassing the permeability requirement for economically-competitive post-combustion CO2 capture, all whilst reducing the membrane-volume-normalised demand for Ag by one order of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1766-1775
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Dr Oliver B. Camus at Bath University for conducting mercury intrusion porosimetry measurements and Dr Maggie White at Newcastle University for conducting X-ray diffraction analyses. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement Number 320725 and from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via grants EP/M01486X/1, EP/P007767/1 and EP/P009050/1. X-ray access was supported by UCL and EPSRC under EP/M028100/1. L. A. M. would like to thank the Newcastle University EPSRC DTP. G. A. M. would like to thank the EPSRC for his Doctoral Prize Fellowship (EP/M50791X/1) and Newcastle University for a Newcastle University Academic Track (NUAcT) Fellowship. T. S. M. would like to thank the EPSRC for his Fellowship (EP/P023851/1). P. R. S. acknowledges the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering (CIET 1718/59). Data supporting this publication is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, see DOI: 10.25405/data.ncl.9608369.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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