3D printed materials reduce the cost of CO2 capture systems

15 Mar 2019

Reducing the carbon footprint of many of the processes and technologies in today’s society is a challenge in terms of the size of equipment and the energy required for the carbon capture process. The 3D-CAPS project develops new 3D-printed materials that will strongly reduce the size of equipment for removal and recovery of CO2 from industrial gases using two promising new adsorption-based technologies with an inherent small energy footprint.

For more information go to the 3D-CAPS Project website

More information


Today’s CO2 capture technologies require large system volumes with associated high capital investments. Step-changes in this field are required to accelerate the introduction of CCS technologies. Reducing the investment cost of CO2 capture solutions can be achieved with innovative material solutions.
The project 3D-CAPS targets a productivity increase of an order of magnitude in two sorbent-based technologies for CO2 capture. This leads to a substantial decrease in overall equipment size and costs, and will be achieved using the latest available techniques for materials production: additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D-printing.

3D-printed structure (kelvin cel) of porous silica

3D printing

The required adsorbent materials for these technologies are prepared using the latest innovations in 3D-printing. This technology will allow tailored materials with much improved heat and mass-transfer characteristics to be prepared, that are not available through traditional material preparation routes.
The project brings together a consortium of partners, with the appropriate skill sets from across Europe, in a two year project, which will culminate in a proof-of-concept of the new materials, and blueprints for a large scale pilot demonstration, where the target is to reduce equipment size by a factor of 10.

3D-printed stucture (Gyroid) of porous silica


A key milestone in the project, the manufacture of 3D-printed porous adsorbent materials is reached and allows for further proving the potential of this new approach in CO2 capture technology.
The consortium has successfully developed 3D-printing pastes and printing procedures for the two selected porous sorbent materials, silica and (potassium promoted) hydrotalcite. These pastes are used to print the desired 3D-structures. After printing, the objects are exposed to a de-binding and sintering post- treatment to give them their final form and strength.

The 3D-printed silica structures remain porous after the printing and post-treatment processes. The silica material is functionalised with amines to give them the desired CO2 adsorption properties. The hydrotalcites maintain their intrinsic CO2 adsorption properties, after the 3D print processing steps.

3D-printed column packings (kelvin cells) for CO2 capture

The ability to 3D-print these structured adsorption materials allows to develop significantly improved performance of CO2 capture processes. The targeted overall performance improvement with a factor 10 compared to traditional packed bed systems can now be tested, for both the functionalized silica’s as well as for the hydrotalcite. Tests are going to be done on a lab-scale, using several grams of the new materials, in simulated pressure - and temperature swing adsorption (PSA/TSA) conditions. When results are satisfying, the next step in the project is to test the structured sorbents on a larger scale and for a longer duration.

Cost reduction

In the same time, process design and model calculations are performed to assess the cost reduction potential of these new CO2 capture systems in comparison to current CO2 capture processes.
The advances in CO2 capture processes are specifically interesting for the oil and gas industry, power plants, steel plants and the chemical industry, as it will reduce the costs of CO2 capture.
The project is carried out by a consortium of TNO, Sintef, University of Babes Bolyai, Aker Solutions, CO2 Capture Project (CCP) , and 3D-CAT. More information on the project is available at


If you want to know more about this work, and/or if you’d like to know what this new technology could mean for your process or industry, please get in contact with Robert de Boer.

The ACT 3D-CAPS project # 271503 has received funding from RVO (NL), RCN (NO), UEFISCDI (RO), and is co-funded by the CO2 Capture Project (CCP) and the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program ACT, Grant Agreement No 691712.

Our work

3D-printing for CO2 capture productivity increase

To use of structered sorbents made with modern manufacturing technologies, like additive manufacturing or 3D-printing, can result in dramatically smaller installations and thus cheaper sorption based separation... Read more

Dr. ir. Robert de Boer

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