Ion-exchanged montmorillonite as simple and effective catalysts for efficient CO2 capture

Umair H. Bhatti, Haider Sultan, Gwan Hong Min, Sung Chan Nam*, Il Hyun Baek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


One of the main challenges limiting the widespread industrial use of absorbent-based CO2 capture is the energy intensive solvent regeneration, due to poor CO2 desorption kinetics. The addition of a catalyst can help optimize the CO2 desorption rate at low temperatures and minimize the thermal dependence of CO2 desorption reactions. In this work, we report a new class of inexpensive and abundant montmorillonite clay-based catalysts for this purpose, which can be readily tuned by simple ion-exchange with acid or metal solutions. As an example, in this study montmorillonite was ion-exchanged with an acid, H2SO4 and a metal, Zr. The ion-exchange process substantially increased the BET surface area (up to 10 times), mesoporosity, and surface acidity of the parent montmorillonite without noticeably destroying the clay structure. Solvent regeneration experiments at the moderate temperature of 86 °C showed that the catalysts are effective at low temperature, and increased the CO2 desorption rate by up to 215%, the quantity of desorbed CO2 by up to 79%, and reduced the relative heat duty by up to 44.15% compared to the benchmark amine solution. Additionally, the prepared catalysts could be easily separated by simple filtration, and their stability was confirmed for five cyclic uses. Finally, based on characterizations and experimental results, a plausible reaction mechanism for the ion-exchanged montmorillonite catalyzed CO2 desorption reaction is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127476
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Catalytic solvent regeneration
  • Clay-based catalysts
  • CO capture
  • Ion-exchanged catalysts
  • Montmorillonite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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