Moisture-Driven CO2 Sorbents

Xiaoyang SHI, Hang XIAO, Kohei KANAMORI, Akio YONEZU, Klaus S. LACKNER*, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


An energy-saving system containing ion-exchange or nanoporous materials and carbonate ions is proposed, which is capable of capturing CO2 from ambient air simply by controlling the amount of water (moisture) in contact with the sorbent. The system binds CO2 from the air when the surrounding is dry, whereas it desorbs CO2 when it is wet. A design of such CO2 sorption and desorption systems is investigated using quantum mechanics simulations and is verified by experiments. Its working mechanism is revealed as the free energy change of the chemical reaction of the carbonate ions and water molecules; the free energy change decreases when the number of water molecules in the materials decreases. The influence of pore size, spacing of cations, and surface hydrophobicity of the sorbents on CO2 capture efficiency are elucidated. The study sheds light on ways to optimize an efficient direct air capture system and therefore contributes to the development of “negative emission technologies.” © 2020 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1823-1837
Number of pages15
Issue number8
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work is supported by the Fulton Schools of Engineering Dean’s Office, Arizona State University, USA. X.C. acknowledges support from the Earth Engineering Center and Center for Advanced Materials for Energy and Environment, Columbia University, USA.


  • capture CO2 from ambient air
  • climate change
  • CO2 sorbent
  • DAC technology
  • direct air capture CO2
  • global warming
  • ion hydration
  • negative carbon emission
  • negative emission technology
  • surface and interface science


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