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From Point Source CO2 Capture to Grid-Scale H2 Storage – The Promise and Science of the Ultramicroporous Adsorbent Aluminum Formate (ALF)

Portrait of Dr. Hayden Evans, guest speaker
Dr. Hayden Evans
Research Chemist
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
iSTEM Building 2, Room 1218
Inorganic Seminar
Materials Chemistry and Nanoscience Seminar

Gas storage and separations are vitally important to many areas of society. Though perhaps easy to appreciate the utility of storing gasses, separating one from another is just as significant. In fact, such processes are conservatively responsible for up to hundreds of billions of dollars of global commerce each year. Significant separations include isolating O2 and noble gasses from air, as well as isolating short chain hydrocarbons from one another. However, some separations hold more existential significance, like our ability to sequester CO2 from humid fossil fuel emissions. Recently, coworkers and I have shown that aluminum formate [Al(HCOO)3, ALF] is an inexpensive material capable of excellent CO2 adsorption and outstanding CO2/N2 selectivity at elevated temperatures (323 Kelvin). Given ALFs aggressively low cost and chemical composition, we also believe it is one of the most promising materials for tackling the megascale problem of CO2 capture. Furthermore, our ongoing work has uncovered that ALF not only captures CO2 but also is an excellent candidate for grid scale H2 storage above non-cryogenic temperatures. In my talk, I will discuss the general structure property relationships of ALF, but also why its behavior deviates from many adsorbents as a function of pressure, temperature, and time. Our findings are supported by a suite of characterization techniques, including in-situ X-ray and neutron powder diffraction, gas-isotherms, gas breakthrough, thermogravimetric analysis, as well as technoeconomic analysis. 

Hayden Evans (UGA BSCHEM 2012) received his PhD in Chemistry at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2018. In 2019, he joined the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) as a National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Fellow, becoming a staff Research Chemist in 2021. His work uses neutrons, X-rays, as well as other advanced characterization techniques to study materials for future energy economy technologies (energy generation, storage, transport, by-product remediation). His primary focus at NIST has centered on examining materials for gas sequestration and storage of gases, and solid-state electrolyte materials for batteries.

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