| Toshiba Group Announces Breakthrough in CO2 Absorbing
23 June, 2003
Tokyo -- Toshiba Corporation and Toshiba Ceramics Co., Ltd., a leading producer of ceramic materials, today announced a major step forward in the environmental protection, a lithium-silicate based ceramic material with exceptional carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption characteristics. The new material can absorb 400 times its own volume of CO2 at an unmatched rate of absorption, and can do so at room temperature. The two companies have also confirmed that the new ceramic is capable of over 500 cycles of absorption and discharge without any falling away in absorbing ability. Commercial samples of this lithium-silicate ceramic are now available from Toshiba Ceramics Co., Ltd.
Toshiba’s advances in CO2-absorbing ceramics include the April 1998 breakthrough development of a lithium-zirconate ceramic material able to absorbs 400 times its own volume of CO2 -- a level surpassing previous CO2 absorbers by a factor of ten. Continued development led to In April 2001, Toshiba and Toshiba Ceramics announced a lithium silicate capable of room temperature CO2 absorption that also absorbed CO2 30 times faster than lithium zirconate at high temperatures. Lithium silicate was a major milepost toward development of lighter, cheaper ceramic materials offering faster absorption rates, and its room-temperature absorption of CO2 opened the way to a wide range of practical applications in reducing CO2 emissions.
Until today’s announcement, lithium-silicate CO2-absorbing ceramics were available only in a cylindrical form, which slowed absorption at room temperature -- though showing substantial advances in speed of absorption at between 450 to 700. Cylindrical lithium silicate also showed a conspicuous decrease in absorbing quality after repeated use, as absorbed CO2 gradually built up inside the cylinder.
Toshiba and Toshiba Ceramics have now developed breakthrough processes for forming spherical lithium-silicate offering improved performance, and for achieving a granular form that absorbs CO2 at room temperature and at a ten-times faster rate of absorption. The improved spherical version releases all CO2 during discharge, and is ideal for repeated use at high temperature applications. The smaller granular form achieves all the target properties desired by Toshiba and Toshiba Ceramics: room temperature absorption of CO2 at a rate surpassing other ceramic materials, and no retention of CO2 to impair performance over repeated absorption-discharge cycles. As a result, Toshiba Group is now able to provide high performance lithium-silicate materials in both high and low temperature applications.
Soda lime is the most widely used disposable CO2 absorbent that can used at room temperature, but Toshiba’s new ceramic offers superior characteristics.
Development of practical CO2-absorbing materials is one of the Toshiba Group’s wide ranging environmental protection activities, which also include improved power generation, energy-saving products and technologies for combating pollution.
CO2 fixed in the new ceramic could also be recycled. Toshiba, working with Toyo Engineering Corporation, has developed and is now testing a system that can separate CO2 from hydrogen when the latter gas is produced from natural gas heated to a temperature of 500 to 600. Separation of CO2 in this way will simplify hydrogen production while increasing efficiency. NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) has supported this research with funding since fiscal 2002.
One obvious application of Toshiba’s CO2-absorbing ceramics is in thermal power plants, where they will provide the cheapest solution yet for capturing and fixing CO2.Toshiba’s Industrial And Power Systems & Services Company will promote this business. Potential recycling of such captured CO2 could include delivery to beverage companies that use CO2 as an ingredient, a move that would cut CO2 emissions.
Toshiba and Toshiba Ceramics will together propose these and a wide range of uses for the lithium silicate to interested parties.
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