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Issue 11, 2010
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Equimolar CO2 capture by imidazolium-based ionic liquids and superbase systems

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Imidazolium-based ionic liquids continue to attract interest in many areas of chemistry because of their low melting points, relatively low viscosities, ease of synthesis, and good stabilities against oxidative and reductive conditions. However, they are not totally inert under many conditions due to the intrinsic acidity of hydrogen at the C-2 position in the imidazolium cation. In this work, this intrinsic acidity was exploited in combination with an organic superbase for the capture of CO2 under atmospheric pressure. During the absorption of CO2, the imidazolium-based ionic liquid containing an equimolar superbase reacted with CO2 to form a liquid carboxylate salt so that the equimolar capture of CO2 with respect to the base was achieved. The effects of ionic liquid structures, types of organic superbases, absorption times, and reaction temperatures on the capture of CO2 were investigated. Our results show that this integrated ionic liquid–superbase system is capable of rapid and reversible capture of about 1 mol CO2 per mole of ionic liquid. Furthermore, the captured CO2 can be readily released by either heating or bubbling N2, and recycled with little loss of its capture capability. This efficient and reversible catch-and-release process using the weak acidity of the C-2 proton in nonvolatile imidazolium-based ionic liquids provides a good alternative to the current CO2 capture methods that use volatile alkanols, amines, or water.

Graphical abstract: Equimolar CO2 capture by imidazolium-based ionic liquids and superbase systems

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 May 2010, accepted on 31 Aug 2010 and first published on 23 Sep 2010

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0GC00070A
Green Chem., 2010,12, 2019-2023

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    Equimolar CO2 capture by imidazolium-based ionic liquids and superbase systems

    C. Wang, H. Luo, X. Luo, H. Li and S. Dai, Green Chem., 2010, 12, 2019
    DOI: 10.1039/C0GC00070A

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