Energy Efficient Carbon Capture through Electrochemical pH Swing Regeneration of Amine Solution

Mu Lin, Clément Ehret, Hubertus V.M. Hamelers, Annemiek ter Heijne, Philipp Kuntke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Carbon capture is widely acknowledged as a promising strategy for achieving negative emissions. Electrochemical carbon capture technologies are considered a viable alternative to conventional temperature swing processes. Among these, employing the hydrogen oxidation and hydrogen evolution reactions as a redox couple, along with an ion exchange membrane, offers an effective means of establishing a pH swing for desorbing CO2 and regenerating the alkaline solvent. However, the practical scalability of this approach is impeded by challenges such as high energy demands resulting from a high pH differential between anodic and cathodic environments and operation with solutions with a low conductivity, required to obtain an acceptable current yield. To address these limitations, this study introduces an innovative anion exchange membrane (AEM)-based electrochemical process for solvent regeneration. Our research demonstrates the advantageous utilization of amines as chemical buffers. Selecting an amine solution with a favorable pKa (∼7 to 10) helps in maintaining bicarbonate as the predominant carbon species within the system, thereby ensuring a high current yield (>80%) across various operational conditions (current, load ratio, and solution concentration). Furthermore, our analysis indicates that the use of amine solutions effectively reduces the overpotential of the hydrogen evolution reaction due to a lower local pH. This results in a minimum energy requirement of 63 kJ/mol at a current density of 20 A/m2 to regenerate the solution (MDEA) while maintaining high (>99%) product (CO2) purity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7309-7317
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2024


  • amine solution regeneration
  • anion exchange membranes
  • carbon capture
  • electrochemical pH swing


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