GE partners with universities to develop AM-enabled system to capture CO2 from air

August 25, 2021

GE researchers are developing additively manufactured heat exchangers (like the one pictured here) to integrate into its system for removing carbon dioxide (Courtesy GE Research)

GE researchers are collaborating with chemists and engineers from UC Berkeley, California, USA, and the University of South Alabama, USA, with the aim of working towards a zero-carbon energy future. The team has been awarded a two-year, $2 million project through the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a system for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air. The DOE’s award is for $1.5 million, with a $500,000 cost share from GE and its partners.

GE Research and its university partners are developing a unique approach that involves pairing additively manufactured heat exchanger technology with innovative sorbent materials to create a system that effectively extracts carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, from the air. This same team is employing a similar innovative approach to extract water from the air as part of an ongoing project with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to provide potable clean water for troops in the field.

The team from UC Berkeley, led by Professor of Chemistry, Omar Yaghi, is a world-recognised leader in the development of sorbent materials that are capable of extracting targeted elements out of the air.

Yaghi stated, “Since the first crystallisation and proof of porosity of metal-organic frameworks in 1995 and 1998, respectively, we have been continually developing their chemistry and design on the atomic/molecular scale. Teaming with GE on applying these materials in carbon dioxide capture is, therefore, a timely and most fortunate collaboration to address one of the most pressing problems facing our planet.”

While UC Berkeley will focus on the development and application of sorbent materials in the system, the team from the University of South Alabama, led by Professor Grant Glover, will help inform the selection of the right materials for the system. “Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) provide an exciting opportunity to design materials to separate gases,” Glover said. “With the opportunity to pair these insights with the GE team that has expertise in manufacturing and product development, the possibilities of what we can bring to CO2 capture are quite exciting.”

David Moore, the Principal Investigator and Technology Manager for Material Physics and Chemistry at GE Research, concluded, “We’re combining GE’s extensive knowledge in materials, thermal management and 3D printing technologies with UC Berkeley’s world-class expertise in sorbent materials development and the University of South Alabama’s and sorption modelling and testing to design a novel system for removing carbon dioxide from the air. Through this project, we’re aiming to demonstrate the feasibility of a system that could become a future large-scale, economical solution for widespread decarbonisation of the energy sector.”

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