News Release

Korea Maritime & Ocean University shows new paths to capturing atmospheric greenhouse gas

New study provides novel insights into the kinetics of trapping carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in a type of compound called β-HQ clathrates

Peer-Reviewed Publication

National Korea Maritime and Ocean University

New Paths to Capturing Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas

image: Compelling similarity of CO2 and N2O uptake in an organic crystalline host view more 

Credit: Korea Maritime & Ocean University

Finding efficient techniques to separate and remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is key to decelerating climate change. In a recent study published online in Chemical Engineering Journal on August 9, 2021 (to be published in Volume 427 of the journal on January 1, 2022), a team of scientists, including Dr. Sol Geo Lim from National Korea Maritime & Ocean University, investigated the potential of a class of compounds called organic hydroquinone (HQ) clathrates to capture two key greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). “In our previous work, we demonstrated the effectiveness of these clathrates for the recovery of CO2 and N2O individually. But capturing them simultaneously could be even more environmentally effective,” says Dr. Lim.

Organic clathrates, such as HQ clathrates, are substances with a grid-like structure that enable it to trap other molecules (usually gases). The grid structure is termed the ‘host’ and the gases are ‘guests.’ But HQ clathrates selectively prefer different guests based on the composition of the gas mixtures they interact with. This makes it important to understand the different guest behaviors in HQ clathrates.

In their work, the research team exposed HQ clathrates to gas mixtures that had varying compositions of CO2 and N2O. They then performed experiments to investigate the interactions in the clathrate. They found that, unlike in experiments with other gas mixtures, the final composition of CO2 and N2O in the β-HQ was the same as that of the initial gas mixture, i.e., the HQ did not prefer either gas. When two components exist in the same composition in two different phases (here, solid and vapor), the mixture is called an azeotrope. This is the first ever report of an azeotropic HQ clathrate.

The research team further saw that CO2, N2O and CO2–N2O all had very similar clathrate formation kinetics. “The azeotrope formation can be attributed to the compelling similarity of CO2 and N2O guests in HQ clathrates. This valuable knowledge on hosthost and guestguest interactions in clathrates will help us develop new gas capture technologies,” says Dr. Lim.

With studies like this to steer the research, perhaps it won’t be long before we usher in a new era of climate protection.




Authors: Sol Geo Lim1, Jiyeong Jang1, Jong Won Lee2, Minjun Cha3, Jeasung Park4, Michihiro Muraoka5, Yoshitaka Yamamoto5, Dohyun Moon6, Ji-HoYoon1,7


  1. Ocean Science and Technology (OST) School, Korea Maritime and Ocean University, Republic of Korea
  2. Kongju National University, Republic of Korea
  3. Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea
  4. Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH), Republic of Korea
  5. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan
  6. Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PAL), Republic of Korea
  7. Department of Energy and Resources Engineering, Korea Maritime and Ocean University, Republic of Korea


About National Korea Maritime & Ocean University 

South Korea’s most prestigious university for maritime studies, transportation science and engineering, the National Korea Maritime & Ocean University is located on an island in Busan. The university was established in 1945 and since then has merged with other universities to currently being the only post-secondary institution that specializes in maritime sciences and engineering. It has four colleges that offer both undergraduate and graduate courses.  


About the author

Sol Geo Lim is an M.S. candidate at the Department of Convergence Study on Ocean Science and Technology, Ocean Science and Technology (OST) School, Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU). He obtained his B.S. from the Energy and Resources Engineering department of KMOU, in 2020.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.