Materials for Generation of Pure Gas Streams and Carbon Capture

Carbon capture secures CO2 emissions from industrial sources. Later, the carbon storage process stores the emissions in geological formations deep inside the earth. This research area is designing and developing materials to remove contaminants from gaseous hydrocarbon feed stocks and air for the following:

  • Clean burning in power plants
  • Efficiently separating CO2 streams suitable for compression and storage

Why Is this Research Important?

CO2 emissions from human activities are the leading cause of global climate change. This Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative research field focuses on capturing CO2 produced through processing bitumen and heavy hydrocarbons such as coal. Our aim is to reduce or eliminate the effect of hydrocarbon use on global warming. This work is especially important for high sulphur and nitrogen hydrocarbons such as Alberta’s oilsands.

Scientific Background

The gasification and use of natural gas in advanced power generation requires removing contaminants such as sulphur and nitrogen from carbonaceous sources. We aim to develop absorbent and membrane-based approaches to address a wide range of decontamination issues in order to generate a pure CO2 stream for storage. Pure CO2 reduces eventual compression costs and eliminates other liquefaction and storage issues. In addition to removing contaminants from hydrocarbons, oxygen diluents in air (nitrogen and argon) must be removed for efficient storage. We will work cooperatively to develop high-performance materials that can withstand combustion processes and exhaust in gas turbines operated with alternative feedstocks.

Research Focus

The Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute of Energy and Climate Research (JÜLICH) and the University of Alberta have identified several areas of mutual interest:

  • Pre-combustion clean-up and membrane protection by developing new, economical H2S absorbents/membrane guards derived from novel nano zinc compounds (U of A). This clean-up will be used to enhance the stability and lifetime of the hydrogen permeable membranes being developed at the Forschungszentrum JÜLICH
  • Developing new membranes for syngas H2/CO2 separations by geomorphic molecular sieves (U of A), Sol-Gel derived molecular sieves (JÜLICH), and ceramic proton conductors (JÜLICH)
  • Oxyfuel combustion, including new methods for generating pure oxygen from air by ceramic membranes (JÜLICH) and pressure swing absorption (U of A), and assessing materials stability for gas turbines in oxygen and/or H2-rich environments (JÜLICH)
  • Post-combustion CO2 treatment, including low-temperature/energy drying of CO2 and removing other impurities by titanosilicate molecular sieves (U of A)


Research Coordinators

Dr Stefan Baumann
Senior Researcher
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institut für Energieforschung, IEF-1
Werkstoffsynthese und Herstellungsverfahren
Jülich, Germany

Dr Steven Kuznicki
Professor and NSERC Chair
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
W7-084M Elec & Comp Engineering Research Facility
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Coordinating Institutions: