Amino acid ionic liquids as efficient catalysts for CO2 capture: A combined static and dynamic approach

Abdul Rajjak Shaikh*, Anna Vidal-López, Artur Brotons-Rufes, Jason J. Pajski, Sadain Zafar, Raisul Awal Mahmood, Muhammad Usman Khan, Albert Poater, Mohit Chawla, Luigi Cavallo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amino acid ionic liquids (AAILs) have gained significant attention as green solvents that are biocompatible, biodegradable, and useful in various applications, including catalysts, absorbents, and solvents. This study investigates the detailed interactions of three amino acid anions (glycine [Gly]-, histidine [His]-, and arginine [Arg]-) with the cation 1-methoxylbutyl-3-methylimidazolium [MOBMIM]+ and their role in CO2 absorption using quantum mechanical calculations and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations elucidate the reaction mechanisms underlying CO2 absorption and cycloaddition, and facilitate a comparative analysis of the impact of different amino acids on these reactions, and the synergies between them. Notably, arginine displays superior CO2 absorption capacity in comparison to glycine and histidine. Additionally, the cycloaddition reaction with CO2 exhibits a lower energy barrier when arginine is involved. Insights from the MD simulations highlight the higher level of electrostatic interaction between [MOBMIM]+[Arg]- and CO2, relative to the other studied molecules. Moreover, the Lennard Jones interaction emerges as the dominant type of interaction in these systems. The diffusion coefficient for CO2 was highest when interacting with [MOBMIM]+[Gly]-, followed by [MOBMIM]+[Arg]-. Consequently, both MD and DFT investigations converge to suggest that [MOBMIM]+[Arg]- followed by [MOBMIM]+[Gly]- may serve as advantageous choices for CO2 fixation and cycloaddition. The findings from this study underscore the considerable potential of the investigated AAILs as materials conducive to CO2 capture and utilization, thus paving the way for the integration of CO2 capture into valuable chemical products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100175
JournalResults in Surfaces and Interfaces
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024


  • CO
  • DFT calculations
  • Ionic liquid
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Sustainable catalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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