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radically reducing the cost and emissions impact of chemical separations


TEAM:

Tom McDonald, Ph.D. and Zoey Herm, Ph.D.

Tom McDonald, Ph.D. and Zoey Herm, Ph.D.

Prior to joining Mosaic Materials as Chief Science Officer, Dr. Thomas McDonald was a graduate student in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, working under the guidance of Professor Jeffrey Long. His graduate work focused on the design, synthesis, and characterization of diamine-functionalized metal-organic frameworks as highly selective and energy efficient adsorbents for carbon dioxide. While at Berkeley, Dr. McDonald invented a new class of phase-change adsorbents for acid gas removal that Mosaic Materials is working to commercialize as its first product.


technology:

Critical need: 10% of global energy consumption is used for separations. The majority of chemical separations are carried out via energy-intensive distillations. New materials are needed to switch to low-energy adsorption-based processes, enabling up to an 80% reduction in energy use. 

 
Relative energy use for separation technologies. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy report "Materials for Separation Technologies: Energy and Emission Reduction Opportunities."

Relative energy use for separation technologies. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy report "Materials for Separation Technologies: Energy and Emission Reduction Opportunities."

 

Technology vision: Enable a radical reduction in cost and energy consumption for removing carbon dioxide and other impurities from high-volume commodity chemicals, including natural gas, biogas, and hydrogen, through the development and manufacturing of high-efficiency metal-organic framework (MOF) adsorbents.  

 
Source: "Energy Use and Energy Intensity of the U.S. Chemical Industry." Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (2000).

Source: "Energy Use and Energy Intensity of the U.S. Chemical Industry." Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (2000).

 

Current state-of-the-art: MOFs have been demonstrated at the lab-scale for several separation and storage processes. However, the high costs of the ligands and solvothermal synthesis make scaling difficult.

Key innovation: Mosaic Materials is developing low-cost synthetic methods and high-efficiency sorption processes based on new, highly-selective sorbents developed in Professor Jeff Long’s group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Manufacturing challenges: Scale-up of synthesis and particle engineering to meet industry form factor and performance standards.

Competing technology: Zeolite, carbon, and other MOF-based sorbents and membranes are under development to address the same separation challenges.   

Potential for impact: If successful, our new metal-organic framework sorbents will radically reduce the energy and cost required to produce a wide range of commodity chemicals. Our first technology, a solid-state separation unit for natural gas and biogas purification, has the potential to reduce OpEx costs by 50% and CapEx by 20% through significant reductions in heat and water consumption.

We're looking for: 

  • Technical collaborators (especially for process development/modeling)
  • Funders
  • Joint development partners
  • Techno-economic analysis 
  • Team members - scientists, engineers, business, interns

Links: mosaicmaterials.com

Contact: tmcdonald [at] mosaicmaterials [dot] com


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