Researchers at North Carolina State University have conducted a study demonstrating the feasibility of producing carbon dioxide capture filters using 3D printing technology. The team employed a hydrogel material that can house an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase, which expedites the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into bicarbonate through a chemical reaction. By utilizing 3D printing, the researchers believe that filter designs can be created more swiftly and with greater versatility.
The study, published in the journal Gels, involved the formulation of a solution comprising two organic compounds, the printing “ink,” and carbonic anhydrase. Through the use of UV light, the team solidified the solution while employing 3D printing to fabricate thread-like filaments of the hydrogel in a two-dimensional grid structure.
To ensure the hydrogel’s mechanical strength for 3D printing, the researchers drew inspiration from cells, which contain enzymes compartmentalized within fluid-filled spaces. The team then examined the material’s characteristics, including its flexibility and ability to capture carbon dioxide. In a small-scale experiment, the filter successfully captured 24% of the carbon dioxide present in a gas mixture. Although this capture rate was lower compared to previous designs, the filter’s size was less than an inch in diameter. By increasing the size and employing modular shapes, the researchers anticipate enhancing the filter’s capture efficiency by stacking them in a tall column configuration.
Furthermore, the team assessed the material’s durability and found that it retained 52% of its initial carbon capture performance after more than 1,000 hours of testing.
The researchers acknowledge that their work is still in the early stages but are optimistic that it opens up new possibilities for creating carbon capture materials. The study highlights the potential of 3D printing as a means of manufacturing functional carbon dioxide capture filters, offering hope for the advancement of carbon capture technology.
Source: North Carolina State University