New Materials

Toray Develops World’s First Porous Carbon Fibre

New material could benefit environment by enhancing performance of advanced gas separation membranes

Toray has announced it’s created the world’s first porous carbon fibre with a nano-sized continuous pore structure. Using this fibre as a support layer could lighten advanced membranes used in greenhouse gas separation and hydrogen production and make them more compact, thereby enhancing performance.

The company will keep pushing ahead with R&D for this new material to foster carbon recycling, collaborating with other entities in developing applications to sustainably tap hydrogen energy and shrink environmental footprints.

Absorption- and adsorption-based facilities conventionally separate carbon dioxide, biogas, hydrogen, and other gases. The issue with such setups, however, is that they are large and consume a lot of energy, resulting in heavy carbon dioxide emissions. Gas separation methods employing membranes have thus attracted considerable attention. But despite ongoing research, no membranes have yet combined satisfactory gas separation performance and durability.

Hollow porous carbon fibre and internal porous structure

Toray’s new material is chemically stable because it comprises carbon, and offers outstanding gas permeability. The material employs thin, flexible fibres, so when it is used to support gas membranes a module can house many of them. Modules can thus be compact and light. Such support makes it possible to combine a range of gas separation layers.

Toray looks to contribute to the swift commercialisation of advanced separation membranes that are vital to materialising eco-friendly natural gas and bio-gas purification and hydrogen production.

Harnessing its polymer technology enables Toray to create a porous carbon fibre with uniformly continuous pores and carbon. It is possible to set nano-through micro-level pore sizes for porous structures. Another possibility is to create a hollow fibre-shaped porous carbon fibre in the centre of a fibre.

Prospective applications leveraging the adsorption properties of Toray’s new material include electrode materials and catalyst carriers (base substances for fixing other substances) in high-performance batteries. The company will collaborate with several partners in efforts leveraging its new material in a drive to commercialise more advanced gas separation membranes.

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