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Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 1;5:17636. doi: 10.1038/srep17636.

Conductive Graphitic Carbon Nitride as an Ideal Material for Electrocatalytically Switchable CO2 Capture.

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Integrated Materials Design Centre (IMDC), School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


Good electrical conductivity and high electron mobility of the sorbent materials are prerequisite for electrocatalytically switchable CO2 capture. However, no conductive and easily synthetic sorbent materials are available until now. Here, we examined the possibility of conductive graphitic carbon nitride (g-C4N3) nanosheets as sorbent materials for electrocatalytically switchable CO2 capture. Using first-principle calculations, we found that the adsorption energy of CO2 molecules on g-C4N3 nanosheets can be dramatically enhanced by injecting extra electrons into the adsorbent. At saturation CO2 capture coverage, the negatively charged g-C4N3 nanosheets achieve CO2 capture capacities up to 73.9 × 10(13) cm(-2) or 42.3 wt%. In contrast to other CO2 capture approaches, the process of CO2 capture/release occurs spontaneously without any energy barriers once extra electrons are introduced or removed, and these processes can be simply controlled and reversed by switching on/off the charging voltage. In addition, these negatively charged g-C4N3 nanosheets are highly selective for separating CO2 from mixtures with CH4, H2 and/or N2. These predictions may prove to be instrumental in searching for a new class of experimentally feasible high-capacity CO2 capture materials with ideal thermodynamics and reversibility.

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