Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 10, Issue 9, pp 2725–2731 | Cite as

Carbon Dioxide Capture Using Amine Functionalized Hydrothermal Carbons from Technical Lignin

  • Emmanuel Atta-Obeng
  • Benjamin Dawson-AndohEmail author
  • Eugene Felton
  • Greg Dahle
Original Paper


Amine scrubbing is the most optimized and widely researched post combustion carbon dioxide capture technology till date. However, amine scrubbing remains costly because of high energy inputs during the regeneration stage. Although less researched, “solid sorbents” such as zeolite, active carbon, carbon coke, metal–organic frameworks and mesoporous silica are currently under development for CO2 capture as potential alternatives to amine scrubbers. In this study, sorbents were synthesized from carbonaceous materials (CMs) obtained from hydrothermally treated (350 °C) lignin, a waste material from forest biorefineries. CMs were activated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) at 800 °C to improve their textural properties and finally functionalized with polyethyleneimine (PEI) to also improve its CO2 capture properties. This study evaluated synergistic effect of these two treatments on adsorption capacity of CO2. Activation increased surface area of CMs from 2.8 to 1341 m2 g−1. CO2 capacities of 2 mmol g−1 (L350 PEI 5%) and 1.53 mmol g−1 (L350) could be reached at 30 °C, due to improved textural and chemical properties of the samples. Optimal PEI loading was determined to be 5%, after which CO2 sorption decreased with further additions of PEI. This was ascribed to blockage of the micro-pores in the activated samples at high PEI impregnation. Also, activated samples showed faster adsorption kinetics compared to PEI functionalized activated samples. The feasibility of using waste lignin with improved surface area and surface functionalities as alternative materials for CO2 adsorption was demonstrated.


Carbon dioxide Polyethyleneimine (PEI) Activation Carbonaceous materials Lignin 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the USDA Northeast Sun Grant funded proposal (2014–2015) “Engineered High-Value Carbonaceous Products from Bio-refinery By-Products” and the USDA McIntire-Stennis Project # 1002913. The authors will also like to thank the School of Natural Resources, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. USA and WVU Division of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Chancellor’s Scholars Program for their partial financial support of Mr. Emmanuel Atta-Obeng Ph.D. studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel Atta-Obeng
    • 1
  • Benjamin Dawson-Andoh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eugene Felton
    • 2
  • Greg Dahle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Sustainable Bio-materialsWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal and Nutritional SciencesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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