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Research Project Profile

Development of State-of-the-Art NMR Spectroscopy and Imaging for Utilization and Sequestration of CO2

PI: Prof. Mark Conradi, Washington University in St. Louis
Co-PIs: Assoc. Prof. Sophia Hayes, Washington University in St. Louis; Asst. Prof. Phil Skemer, Washington University in St. Louis


A schematic of the experimental hardware developed at WashU for these experiments.


Proof-of-concept experiments show that both the precursor and end-products can be detected using NMR.



Project summary

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is currently being pursued as a means of reducing net carbon dioxide (CO2) output from power plant sources by capturing the CO2 then utilizing it or sequestering it. Geological sequestration and chemical utilization of CO2 as a feedstock chemical are actively being explored as possible mechanisms for reducing net anthropogenic CO2 release.

CCS has a number of technical and scientific challenges involving CO2, which our research aims to address. These questions span a broad range of topics, including:

1. Geological sequestration

  • How is CO2 stored, and what happens to it after injection?
  • What geological conditions are favorable for geochemical trapping (i.e., mineralization) versus physical trapping (i.e., containment in underground reservoirs)?
  • How is the permeability of geologic reservoirs affected by carbon sequestration?
  • Under what conditions will a physical trapping site release CO2 and at what rate?

2. Utilization

  • Are there specific reaction conditions that favor conversion of CO2 into a chemical endproduct?
  • What are the mechanisms and kinetics governing such reactions?
  • Can conditions be optimized to favor product yields?
  • Can the endproducts be adequately characterized to enhance the reaction condition?

We are currently developing a new and unique set of in situ spectroscopic tools which will be able to study these different mitigation systems using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements.


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