MOF Crystals to Clean Impurities from Natural Gas


Researchers at KAUST developed a metal-organic framework (MOF) to trap impurities from natural gas.

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are compounds consisting of metal ions or clusters coordinated to organic ligands to form one-, two-, or three-dimensional structures. Researchers have employed MOF in a unique technology to remove impurities such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The new technology will help to promote increased use of natural gas for a variety of industrial applications, across the world

Cleaning natural gas makes it efficient, allowing minimal emission of pollution. Natural gas consists of methane and other hydrocarbons in small quantities. The research work at KAUST advance will support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program. The findings were published in the journal Nature Energy (October 29, 2018).

“Meeting this challenging target will require enhanced use of sources of natural gas that initially contain significant levels of H2S and CO2,” says Youssef Belmabkhout of the KAUST team.

The researchers developed MOFs, which contain metal ions held by carbon-based organic chemical groups (linkers). MOFs are rearranged through realignment of its linkers and inorganic molecular building blocks, which allows the metal to perform various useful functions.

“The challenge we met in this work was to develop a fluorine-containing MOF with pores that allow equally selective adsorption of H2S and CO2 from the natural gas stream,” Belmabkhout explains.

The researchers are investigating their technique on optimizing the chemical features of the MOF for commercial exploitation. They are hoping that combining their procedures with industrial partners might open avenues for its usage in advancing economic use of natural gas.




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