High-capacity methane storage in flexible alkane-linked porous aromatic network polymers


Adsorbed natural gas (ANG) technology is a viable alternative to conventional liquefied or compressed natural-gas storage. Many different porous materials have been considered for adsorptive, reversible methane storage, but fall short of the US Department of Energy targets (0.5 g g−1, 263 l l−1). Here, we prepare a flexible porous polymer, made from benzene and 1,2-dichloroethane in kilogram batches, that has a high methane working capacity of 0.625 g g−1 and 294 l l−1 when cycled between 5 and 100 bar pressure. We suggest that the flexibility provides rapid desorption and thermal management, while the hydrophobicity and the nature of the covalently bonded framework allow the material to tolerate harsh conditions. The polymer also shows an adsorbate memory effect, where a less adsorptive gas (N2) follows the isotherm profile of a high-capacity adsorbate (CO2), which is attributed to the thermal expansion caused by the adsorption enthalpy. The high methane capacity and memory effect make flexible porous polymers promising candidates for ANG technology.

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Fig. 1: Design and synthesis of flexible porous polymers.
Fig. 2: Reversible methane uptake by flexible porous polymers.
Fig. 3: Adsorbate memory effect.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning) (nos NRF-2016R1A2B4011027, NRF-2017M3A7B4042140 and NRF-2017M3A7B4042235).

Author information

V.R. synthesized and characterized all the sorbents. D.T. helped in syntheses and analyses. R.U. and M.A. carried out high-pressure pure-gas uptake studies. V.R. and J.L. tested COP-150 in an actual cylinder. M.J. and H.O. collected cryogenic (111K) CH4 isotherms. M.A. explained the high-pressure behaviour of the sorbents. C.T.Y. conceived the project and wrote the manuscript with contributions from all authors.

Correspondence to Mert Atilhan or Cafer T. Yavuz.

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Competing interests

KAIST has filed a provisional patent application (10-2019-0058296) related to the new flexible porous polymers reported in this manuscript.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Notes 1–3, Supplementary Figs. 1–35, Supplementary Tables 1–10 and Supplementary refs.

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