Nature Communications | VOL. 11

Electrochemically mediated carbon dioxide separation with quinone chemistry in salt-concentrated aqueous media

Publication Date May 8, 2020


Carbon capture is essential for mitigating carbon dioxide emissions. Compared to conventional chemical scrubbing, electrochemically mediated carbon capture utilizing redox-active sorbents such as quinones is emerging as a more versatile and economical alternative. However, the practicality of such systems is hindered by the requirement of toxic, flammable organic electrolytes or often costly ionic liquids. Herein, we demonstrate that rationally designed aqueous electrolytes with high salt concentration can effectively resolve the incompatibility between aqueous environments and quinone electrochemistry for carbon capture, eliminating the safety, toxicity, and at least partially the cost concerns in previous studies. Salt-concentrated aqueous media also offer distinct advantages including extended electrochemical window, high carbon dioxide activity, significantly reduced evaporative loss and material dissolution, and importantly, greatly suppressed competing reactions including under simulated flue gas. Correspondingly, we achieve continuous carbon capture-release operations with outstanding capacity, stability, efficiency and electrokinetics, advancing electrochemical carbon separation further towards practical applications.

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Carbon Capture
Quinone Chemistry
Simulated Flue Gas
Economical Alternative
High Salt Concentration
Material Dissolution
Carbon Dioxide
Aqueous Environments
Versatile Alternative
Salt Concentration

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