Inexpensive melamine used to capture carbon dioxide in energy-efficient process

Chemists have used melamine to create an inexpensive and energy-efficient way to capture carbon dioxide, an advance that could one day be scaled down and employed in vehicle exhausts.

The new material is said to be simple to make, requiring primarily off-the-shelf melamine powder — which currently costs about $40 per ton — along with formaldehyde and cyanuric acid. The process for synthesising the melamine material is described in Science Advances.

“We wanted to think about a carbon capture material that was derived from sources that were really cheap and easy to get. And so, we decided to start with melamine,” said Jeffrey Reimer, Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the corresponding authors of the paper.

The so-called melamine porous network captures carbon dioxide with an efficiency comparable to early results for another relatively recent material for carbon capture, metal organic frameworks (MOFs).

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