An upper bound visualization of design trade-offs in adsorbent materials for gas separations: alkene/alkane adsorbents†
The last 20 years has seen an explosion in the number of publications investigating porous solids for gas adsorption and separation. The combination of external drivers such as anthropogenic climate change and industrial efficiency has been coupled with discovery of new materials such as synthetic zeolites, metal–organic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks, and non-porous adsorbents. Numerous reviews catalogue these materials and their properties. However, the field lacks a unifying resource to visually compare and analyse materials properties with regard to their utility as a scientific advance and potential for industrial use. In the related field of membrane science, the ‘Robeson upper bound’ empirically describes the trade-off between gas permeability and selectivity and has become a ubiquitous tool for comparing membrane materials. In this article, we propose upper and lower bounds that empirically correlate the trade-offs encountered when designing adsorbent materials for gas separation, specifically: capacity, selectivity, and heat of adsorption. We apply bound visualizations to adsorbents studied for light alkene/alkane separations and highlight their use in identifying candidate materials for examination within process models and for guiding insights to the most effective materials design strategies. Furthermore, we note the limitations of upper and lower bound visualizations and provide links to a database resource for researchers to produce and download bound visualization plots. We anticipate that introducing bound visualizations to the field of adsorbents for gas separations will allow researchers to provide context for the importance of new materials discoveries, understand trade-offs in adsorbent design, and connect process engineers with candidate materials.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 Emerging Investigators