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SN Applied Sciences

, 1:1186 | Cite as

Influence of water vapor and acid gases on CO2 adsorption using N,N-dimethylethylenediamine decorated Cu-BTC

  • Fujiao SongEmail author
  • Yan Cao
  • Ruiyu Jiang
  • Yunxia Zhao
  • Jinlong Yan
  • Tianming Chen
  • Qi Xu
  • Bairen Yang
Research Article
  • 49 Downloads
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. 1. Chemistry (general)

Abstract

N,N-Dimethylethylenediamine (mmen) was incorporated as a ligand on the Cu2+ of Cu-BTC by a protophilic solvent-assisted solvothermal method for improved performance. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and low temperature N2 adsorption were used to investigate the structural stability of the synthesized material under the influence of flue gas components, such as water vapor, NO and SO2. The thermal stability was determined through thermal gravimetric (TG) analysis. The influence of the main flue gas components on the CO2 adsorption capacity of the material were discussed as well. Finally the SO2/NO resistance mechanism were deduced. Both Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen were very stable in the presence of H2O, while the former could be destroyed by the continuous NO/N2 and SO2/N2 mixture flow significantly. This situation has been improved on Cu-BTC-mmen sample, probably because the mmen on the surface of Cu-BTC react with SO2/NO preferentially and protect the Cu2+ sites to some extent. Cyclic regeneration test of the CO2 adsorption process on fresh and disposed adsorbents was also investigated.

Keywords

Cu-BTC N,N-Dimethylethylenediamine CO2 adsorption Water vapor Acid gases 

1 Introduction

At present, postcombustion carbon capture and sequestration from power power plant flue gas is considered to be an effective way to mitigate the impact of CO2 emissions on climate change [1, 2, 3, 4]. Capturing CO2 from flue gas is extremely challenging due to the high flow rates, the low partial pressure of CO2 and the need to consider the separation costs [5]. Adsorption CO2 with solid media is considered to be a more energy efficient technology for CO2 capture than traditional absorption method with alkaline solvents [6, 7].

Since coal is commonly burned in air, N2 is the highest content in the flue gas. The typical composition of the coal-fired flue gas was 12.5–12.8% CO2, 6.2% H2O, 4.4% O2, 50 ppm CO, 420 ppm NOx, 420 ppm SO2, and 76–77% N2 [8]. Therefore, the CO2/N2 selectivity is as important as the CO2 adsorption capacity for CO2 adsorbents [9, 10]. In the past decades, selective adsorption of CO2 over N2 has been extensively studied, both theoretically and experimentally. In particular, other components in flue gas, such as H2O, SO2 and NO, are crucial for the applications of a sorbent in CO2 capture due to the considerable content and particular interaction with the adsorbents [11]. The effect of H2O on CO2 adsorption depends on specific situation. When water molecules compete with CO2 for the adsorption sites, it has an inhibiting effect on CO2 adsorption. Contrarily, water vapor in the flue gas promotes the CO2 adsorption on the amine-based sorbents because the formation of bicarbonate under a wet condition can enhance the amine efficiency [12]. What’s more, the effect of moisture on CO2 adsorption also depends on moisture content [13]. In general, SO2 inhibit CO2 adsorption in amine-based sorbents due to the formation of the heat-stable and irreversible amine salts [14]. NOx on the other hand was predicted to have a significantly smaller effect on limiting CO2 adsorption [15].

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are a novel type of porous crystal materials with ultrahigh porosity, enormous internal surface areas and the extraordinary degree of variability for both the organic and inorganic components of their structures [16, 17, 18]. Due to these properties, MOFs have proved to be the hottest material for CO2 capture in recent years and displayed superior CO2 adsorption performance [19, 20, 21]. The influence of the impurities, such as water, SO2, and NOx, in flue gases on CO2 separations in MOFs were also explored by some researchers. Decoste reported the water resistance property by characterizing the crystal structure and morphology of Cu-BTC before and after exposure to 90% relative humidity at 25 °C [22]. Xie investigated the PXRD patterns of Cu-BTC before and after being kept in moist air, SO2/N2 mixture and NO/N2 mixture [23].

In this work, the N,N-dimethylethylenediamine (mmen) was incorporated as a ligand on the Cu2+ cation sites of Cu-BTC for improved performance. A thorough investigation of the effects of the impurities in flue gas on the structure, such as crystal structure, morphology, surface area, as well as CO2 capture was carried out.

2 Experimental methods

2.1 Synthesis of adsorbents

Cu-BTC adsorbents were synthesized by a protophilic solvent-assisted solvothermal method. Briefly, the procedure was as follows: a solid mixture of Cu(NO3)2·3H2O (5.000 g, 0.021 mol) and H3BTC (1,3,5-benzene tricarboxylic acid, 2.500 g, 0.012 mol) were dissolved in 42.5 mL of DMF, then 42.5 mL ethanol and 42.5 mL deionized water was added into the solution successively after stirring for 15 min. The solution was filled in a 200 mL Teflon liner placed in an autoclave and heated to 85 °C for 20 h. Then the sample was removed from the oven to cool down to room temperature. After removal of the mother liquor, the light blue crystalline product was washed with DMF and ethanol. Then, the crystals were dried at 120 °C in a vacuum oven until the crystals changed to dark blue. With these process parameters, we obtained Cu-BTC-raw. Before the hydrothermal reaction, N,N-dimethylethylenediamine (mmen) (0.11 mL, 1 mmol) was added into the solution with other process changeless, then the protophilic solvent-assisted synthesized Cu-BTC was obtained and named as Cu-BTC-mmen, in which the molar ratio of mmen to Cu-BTC is about 0.15 (Fig. 1). The quantity of N,N-dimethylethylenediamine used for Cu-BTC-mmen synthesis referred to Long JR’s study [24].
Fig. 1

Schematic illustration of solvothermal method to synthesize Cu-BTC-mmen

2.2 Characterization

The power X-ray diffraction (XRD) (Beijing Purkinje General Instrument Co., Ltd., China) pattern were recorded using nickel-filtered Cu Kα radiation at 36 kV and 40 mA (2θ ranging from 5° to 80°, λ = 0.15418 nm and 0.02° step size). The morphologies and composition of samples were observed on the JSM 6380 SEM (Japanese Electronics Co., Ltd., Japan) at an acceleration voltage of 30 kV. The BET surface areas (SBET) and pore volumes (Vpore) of given samples were determined by surface area and porosimetry analyzer (V-Sorb 2008P).

To study the structural stability in water vapor, 300 mg of each sample was disposed with a saturation water vapor at 60 °C for 2 days. To study the structural stability in NO and SO2, 300 mg of each sample was disposed with a binary-gas flow of 400 ppm NO and SO2 in N2 for 2 days, respectively.

CO2 adsorption isotherms were measured using a surface area and porosimetry analyzer (V-Sorb 2008P) under low pressure (0–1.1 bar). The experiments were conducted at 0 °C and 20 °C by the dewar flask using ice water or circulated water in which the sample tube was immersed. Prior to each adsorption experiment, the samples were degassed at 120 °C overnight. The reversibility of the CO2 adsorption process on the samples studied was tested by multiple CO2 adsorption cycles. The corresponding adsorption isotherms have been acquired after heating at 120 °C for 12 h in vacuum in sequence.

3 Results and discussion

3.1 Structural characterization (XRD, SEM, BET)

The power XRD was performed to investigate the effect of impurities on the crystal structure of the adsorbents. And the XRD patterns were collected in Fig. 2. As can be seen in Fig. 2a, the diffraction pattern of fresh Cu-BTC-raw was in accordance with the published literature data (Fig. 2c, d) [25, 26]. (111), (220), (222), (400), (311), (333) and (440) were reflecting planes of Cu-BTC, which were labeled in Fig. 2a. The samples disposed with water vapor and NO/N2 mixture flow almost replicated the pattern of the fresh one, accompanied by a slight decrease in peak intensity. However, significant changes occurred on the sample disposed with SO2/N2 mixture flow. The intensity of all peaks decreased dramatically and the peak around 6.7° (attributed to (111) plane) almost disappeared. Because SO2/N2 mixture flow destroyed the Cu-BTC crystal structures (detailed explanation was analyzed in the Sect. 3.4). In Fig. 2b, the XRD patterns of fresh Cu-BTC-mmen and the samples dealed with H2O/NO/SO2 resemble that of Cu-BTC-raw. Xie et al. [23] reported that Cu-BTC could well maintain its structure in the presence of not only H2O and NO but also SO2 impurities, which was not completely identical with our results. It could be attributed to different gas treatment conditions. Xie et al. disposed Cu-BTC in a certain amount of binary gas containing H2O, NO or SO2, while we disposed the adsorbents with a continuous binary-gas flow. Therefore, the crystal structure of Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen was very stable in the presence of H2O and NO, but could be destroyed by the continuous SO2/N2 mixture flow.
Fig. 2

XRD patterns of Cu-BTC-raw (a) and Cu-BTC-mmen (b): before and after disposed with water vapor, NO/N2 mixture flow and SO2/N2 mixture flow for 2 days, respectively; c XRD patterns of (top) a coating compared with (bottom) the one obtained for Cu3(BTC)2 crystals (Reflections marked by (o) in the coating correspond to the alumina support); d XRD patterns of the simulated (black) and experimental Cu-BTC (red), compared against experimental Mn(blue), Fe- (magenta), and Co- (green) substituted versions of the CuBTC

Scanning electron microscopy was carried out to reveal the effect of impurities on the crystal morphology and the results were collected in Fig. 3. The untreated two samples (A1 and B1) show an octahedral shape and smooth surface, with average size of 30 and 15 um respectively. A large quantity of irregular particles is also found beside the Cu-BTC-mmen crystal, which can be attributed to Cu2O impurities [27]. Interestingly, Cu2O impurities can be observed in SEM but could not be detected by XRD, which had been reported by De Vos DE [28]. After Cu-BTC-raw were exposed to water vapor and 400 ppm NO for 2 days, no significant peak changes could be observed from the morphologies (A2 and A3), Cu-BTC-mmen was also well-maintained in the presence of NO (B3). However, the Cu2O impurities reunited and adhered to the surface of the crystals (B2) due to the effect of vapor condensation. After exposed in 400 ppm SO2 for 2 days, the crystals of the two samples maintained the octahedral shape (A4 and B4), while the surface were corroded and turned from smooth to rough (inset of A4 and B4).
Fig. 3

SEM micrographs of Cu-BTC-raw (a) and Cu-BTC-mmen (b): before (1) and after disposed with water vapor (2), NO/N2 mixture flow (3) and SO2/N2 mixture flow (4) for 2 days, respectively

N2 adsorption isotherms at − 196 °C of the sorbents are shown in Fig. 4. The isotherm of fresh Cu-BTC-raw revealed typical I behavior as expected for microporous materials, corresponding to that reported in literatures [29, 30]. Type H4 loops occurred in the isotherms of the sorbents disposed with water vapor and NO, indicative of existence of mesopores [31]. The hysteresis loop of the latter was broader than the former, indicating that sorbents disposed with NO enjoy more slit-like pores. After the Cu-BTC-raw was disposed with SO2, the isotherm shape changed from typical I to type-III. SO2 reacted with the Cu2+ sites of the Cu-BTC-raw and formed irreversible salts, which not only blocked microporous structure absolutely, but also bonded the Cu-BTC-raw particles together to form macropore structure. That is why the isotherm shape of Cu-BTC-raw changed from typical I to type-III and the pore volume increased from 0.44 cm3/g to 0.61 cm3/g after adsorption of SO2.
Fig. 4

Nitrogen sorption isotherms of Cu-BTC-raw (a) and Cu-BTC-mmen (b): before and after disposed with water vapor, NO/N2 mixture flow and SO2/N2 mixture flow, respectively

When mmen is incorporated onto the adsorbents, secondary amino groups of mmen react with SO2 preferentially and protect the Cu2+ sites to some extent. As can be seen from Fig. 4b, the isotherm of all the four Cu-BTC-mmen samples remained typical I behavior. Therefore, the behavior of the Cu-BTC-raw is so different compared to the one of Cu-BTC-mmen.

As can be seen from Table 1, the surface area and pore volume of fresh Cu-BTC-raw were 1044.07 cm2/g and 0.44 cm3/g, respectively. After the Cu-BTC-raw was disposed with H2O and NO, the surface area and pore volume decreased significantly. The sample disposed with H2O displayed the lowest surface area, but the pore volume was the largest, corresponding to the pore formed by accumulation. Although the surface area and pore volume of fresh Cu-BTC-mmen decreased to 816.72 cm2/g and 0.36 cm3/g respectively, the sample disposed with SO2 maintained type-I isotherm, indicating that Cu-BTC-mmen enjoyed a better performance of SO2 resistance than Cu-BTC-raw.
Table 1

Physical properties of Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen

Cu-BTC-raw

BET (m2/g)

Pore volume (m3/g)

Cu-BTC-mmen

BET (m2/g)

Pore volume (m3/g)

Fresh

1044.07

0.44

Fresh

816.72

0.36

H2O

837.42

0.37

H2O

657.85

0.33

NO

512.37

0.29

NO

579.42

0.32

SO2

59.90

0.61

SO2

394.36

0.19

3.2 TG characterization

The TGA of Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen is shown in Fig. 5 to evaluate the thermal stability of the sorbents.
Fig. 5

The TGA curves of Cu-BTC-raw (a) and Cu-BTC-mmen (b). A1 and B1: TGA curves of fresh samples; A2 and B2: TGA curves of samples disposed with water vapor for 2 days; A3 and B3: TGA curves of samples disposed with NO/N2 mixture flow for 2 days; A4 and B4: TGA curves of samples disposed with SO2/N2 mixture flow for 2 days

In Fig. 5a, the fresh Cu-BTC-raw displayed about 11% weight loss from 100 to 280 °C, corresponding to the removal of solvent molecules adsorbed on the surface and water molecules coordinated with Cu (II). With temperature increasing, Cu-BTC showed a sharp weight loss of 41% from 280 to 410 °C due to the decomposition of the trimesic acid, which confirmed the structural collapse of the sample [32]. The decomposition temperature of Cu-BTC-raw is close to those of rht-MOF-9 and MOF-74(Co) [33, 34, 35]. The TGA curve of Cu-BTC-mmen almost remained that of Cu-BTC-raw but the weight loss increased, which could be attributed to the removal of N,N-dimethylethylenediamine. In Fig. 5b, the weight loss of disposed with water vapor was almost equal to that of fresh sample. However, the adsorbents disposed with a binary mixture of NO or SO2 in N2 displayed a higher weight loss, corresponding to the decomposition of nitrate and sulfate respectively. And the TGA curves of fresh Cu-BTC-mmen and the ones dealed with H2O/NO/SO2 in Fig. 5b resemble that of Cu-BTC-raw.

3.3 Adsorption properties

The CO2 adsorption capacity is one of paramount importance parameters used to evaluate the suitability of materials for the CO2 capture. Figure 6 show the CO2 adsorption isotherms on Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen at 0 °C and 20 °C in the pressure range from 0 to 1.1 bar. The CO2 adsorption capacities at 1 bar are collected in Table 2, which are similar to the results reported in the literature [36, 37, 38].
Fig. 6

CO2 adsorption isotherms measured at 0 °C and 20 °C on the samples studied

Table 2

Amount of CO2 adsorbed at 0 °C and 20 °C

Sample

Amount of CO2 adsorbed (mmol/g)

At 0 °C

At 20 °C

Cu-BTC-raw

4.03

2.80

Cu-BTC-mmen

3.72

2.59

The CO2 adsorption isotherms on the two samples studied at two temperatures follows the trend that adsorption capacity increased with the pressure increase and decreased with the temperature increase [39]. At the same temperature, CO2 uptake of Cu-BTC-raw is larger than that of Cu-BTC-mmen, which is consistent with the values of surface area. Therefore, the CO2 adsorption on the synthesized adsorbents is mainly dependent on physisorption determined by the surface area.

3.4 Influence of flue gas components on CO2 adsorption capacity

For industrial applications, the influence of flue gas components such as water vapor, SO2 and NO on the CO2 capacity of the adsorbent should be considered. As shown in Fig. 7, after exposure to water vapor for 2 days, both Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen show a little lower CO2 adsorption capacity than the fresh ones [40]. Therefore, water vapor would not significantly reduce the CO2 adsorption capacity of the adsorbents. The Cu-BTC-raw samples (Fig. 7a) disposed with NO/N2 and SO2/N2 mixture flow show a decrease of 46% and 88% respectively, while the Cu-BTC-mmen samples (Fig. 7b) disposed under the same conditions show a decrease of 18% and 45% respectively. Therefore, SO2 and NO have obvious effect on CO2 adsorption performance because their strong acidity competes with CO2 for the Cu2+ sites and forms heat-stable and irreversible salts [41]. Take SO2 adsorption for example, the Lewis acids SO2 adsorb at open metal sites (Cu2+) of Cu-BTC to form local sulfite (SO32−)- and sulfate (SO42−)-like structures in the presence of oxygen and water vapor, which destroyed the crystal structures of Cu-BTC-raw [42]. These salts could block the pore structures of the adsorbents, leading to a decrease in surface area, pore volume and CO2 uptake. Moreover, this situation has been improved on Cu-BTC-mmen sample. Xie et al. [23] reported that no significant influence could be observed on the Cu-BTC CO2 adsorption capacity after exposure to SO2/N2 mixture, which was not completely identical with our results. It could be attributed to different gas treatment conditions that mentioned in the section of XRD characterization.
Fig. 7

CO2 adsorption isotherms of Cu-BTC-raw (a) and Cu-BTC-mmen (b) at 0 °C: before and after disposed with water vapor, NO/N2 mixture flow and SO2/N2 mixture flow, respectively

3.5 SO2/NO resistance mechanism

SO2/NO resistance performance is critical for application of CO2 adsorbents. The SO2 resistance mechanism of Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen is deduced in Fig. 8. SO2 has obvious effect on CO2 adsorption performance of Cu-BTC-raw because its strong acidity competes with CO2 for the Cu2+ sites and forms heat-stable and irreversible salts. These salts could cover the Cu2+ sites and block the pore structures of the adsorbents, leading to a decrease in surface area, pore volume, Cu2+ sites as well as CO2 uptake. When mmen is incorporated onto the adsorbents, secondary amino groups of mmen react with SO2 preferentially and protect the Cu2+ sites to some extent. The mechanism of NO resistance is similar to that of SO2. Therefore, the SO2/NO resistance performance of Cu-BTC-mmen has been improved significantly.
Fig. 8

SO2 resistance mechanism of Cu-BTC-raw (a) and Cu-BTC-mmen (b)

3.6 Regenerability and multicycle stability

Regenerability is an important technical parameter in industrial gas adsorption processes. Figure 9 shows the reversibility of the CO2 adsorption process on fresh adsorbents and adsorbents disposed with water vapor and SO2 at 0 °C. In both Fig. 9a, b, the five isotherms are acquired after heating at 120 °C for 12 h in vacuum in sequence. The CO2 uptakes of fresh Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen decreased by 6.8% and 5.3% after the five cycles, respectively. Therefore, the difference in CO2 uptake behavior is not that significant between fresh Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen. All isotherms of the five cycles almost overlap, which reveals a stable CO2 adsorption performance and excellent regenerability at two samples. The CO2 uptakes of Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen disposed with water vapor decreased by 18.3% and 26.7% after the five cycles, respectively. The CO2 uptakes of Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen disposed with SO2 decreased by 90.6% and 50.8% after the five cycles respectively, in which most decay originated from the first disposal with SO2.
Fig. 9

Five cycles of the CO2 adsorption isotherms on Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen at 0 °C. A1 and B1: fresh adsorbents; A2 and B2: adsorbents disposed with water vapor; A3 and B3: adsorbents disposed with SO2

4 Conclusions

N,N-Dimethylethylenediamine (mmen) was incorporated as a ligand on the Cu2+ cation sites of Cu-BTC for improved CO2 adsorption performance. A thorough investigation of the effects of the impurities in flue gas on the structure, such as crystal structure, morphology, surface area, as well as CO2 capture was carried out. Cu-BTC-raw and Cu-BTC-mmen was very stable in the presence of H2O, but could be destroyed by the continuous NO/N2 and SO2/N2 mixture flow in varying degrees. It can be explained that the strong acidity of SO2 and NO competes with CO2 for the adsorption sites and forms heat-stable and irreversible salts. These salts could block the pore structures of the adsorbents, leading to a decrease in surface area, pore volume and CO2 uptake. It is notable that this situation has been improved on Cu-BTC-mmen sample, probably because the mmen on the surface of Cu-BTC react with SO2/NO preferentially and protect the Cu2+ sites to some extent. Cyclic regeneration test also reveals a more stable CO2 adsorption performance and excellent regenerability of Cu-BTC-mmen.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The Work was supported by Joint Open Fund of Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Ecological Building Material and Environmental Protection Equipments and Key Laboratory for Advanced Technology in Environmental Protection of Jiangsu Province, Key Laboratory under Construction for Volatile Organic Compounds Controlling of Jiangsu Province.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fujiao Song
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yan Cao
    • 1
  • Ruiyu Jiang
    • 2
  • Yunxia Zhao
    • 3
  • Jinlong Yan
    • 1
  • Tianming Chen
    • 1
  • Qi Xu
    • 1
  • Bairen Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringYancheng Institute of TechnologyYanchengPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Advanced Technology in Environmental Protection of Jiangsu ProvinceYancheng Institute of TechnologyYanchengPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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