The scale by which CO2 must be mitigated worldwide dwarfs the existing chemical industry, making utilization of CO2 as a chemical feedstock a minor component of the portfolio of mitigation options. Carbon capture and storage is one strategy that could potentially mitigate gigatons of CO2emissions per year, provided geological storage of CO2 is feasible. The scale and energy requirements associated with CO2 separation processes will be presented. Strategies based upon adsorption and catalytic membrane separation processes in particular, will be of focus. Regeneration of CO2 is known to be a significant component of sorption-based separation processes and is absent when using membrane technologies. Nitrogen-selective membranes will be introduced. In particular, metallic membrane materials for selective N2 separation for carbon capture will be presented. This work involves the adsorption, dissociation, and sub-surface diffusion of N2 in Group V-based metals, including vanadium, niobium, and their alloys with ruthenium. The electronic structure of the metal can be tuned based upon alloying, thereby enhancing N2 permeability. Experimental N2 flux measurements have been carried out to validate the theoretical predictions.
Jennifer Wilcox is an Assistant Professor of Energy Resources Engineering in the School of Earth Sciences and an affiliate faculty member in the Emmet Interdisciplinary Program for the Environment and Resources (E-IPER) at Stanford University. Her research efforts include sorbent testing for carbon capture, adsorption studies of CO2 on coal and gas shales, and membrane design for N2 and H2 separations. She also heads the Clean Conversion Laboratory in the School of Earth Sciences. She received the NSF Career award (2005) and the Army Research Office Young Investigator award (2009). Wilcox earned a BA in mathematics from Wellesley College, and an MA in physical chemistry and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona. She recently authored the first textbook on Carbon Capture. In addition, she has served on several study groups including the American Physical Society and the National Academy of Sciences to investigate CO2 mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Sponsored by the IBM Lecture Fund, the Department of Chemistry, and the STS Program.