In the ongoing battle to reduce greenhouse emissions, Toshiba Corp and Toshiba Ceramics Co, have developed a new lithium silicate based material that can absorb up to 400 times its own volume in carbon dioxide (CO2).
The major development with this material is that its rate of CO2 absorption is faster then has been achieved previously, and absorption can be carried out at room temperature. Furthermore, the materials can be cycled over 500 times without suffering any deterioration in absorption properties.
The development of the lithium silicate materials are a progression from lithium zirconate materials developed by Toshiba in 1998. These materials can also absorb 400 times their volume in CO2, which at the time was an improvement by a factor of ten.
The advantage of the lithium silicate materials over the lithium zirconate materials is that they can absorb CO2 30 times faster at higher temperatures. They are also cheaper and can absorb CO2 at room temperature.
Until today, the lithium silicate materials were only available in cylindrical form which had some performance issues. Toshiba have developed technology to produce lithium silicate in spherical and granular forms which offer performance gains.
One of the target applications for this material is in thermal power plants, where they will help to reduce CO2 emissions. The captured CO2 could then be recycled by beverage companies, where it is used as an ingredient.