A fabric-based approach to the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is under development by North Carolina State University researchers.

The textile-based filter combines a two-layer cotton fabric and carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that speeds the formation of bicarbonate from CO2 and water. The filter is synthesized by immersing the fabric in a solution containing chitosan, which serves to physically trap the enzyme so that it adheres to the textile filter.

Rolled into a spiral and inserted into a tube, the filter was tested to determine its efficiency in separating the target gas from an air mixture of CO2 and nitrogen, simulating levels emitted by power plants. As the air mixture and a water-based solution were pushed through the tube, CO2 reacted with the water in the solution and the enzyme, forming an easily recovered bicarbonate material.

As reported in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, over 50% of the CO2 could be removed with a single-stacked filter, and over 80% with a double-stacked filter, by pushing air through the test system at a rate of 4 l/minute. The filter was also observed to maintain a high level of performance after five cycles of washing and drying.

The researchers plan to test the fabric filter at a bigger scale and to develop an energy-efficient process to regenerate the water solution.

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