Navigation Links
More promising natural gas storage?

Porous crystals called metal-organic frameworks, with their nanoscopic pores and incredibly high surface areas, are excellent materials for natural gas storage. But with millions of different structures possible, where does one focus?

A Northwestern University research team has developed a computational method that can save scientists and engineers valuable time in the discovery process. The new algorithm automatically generates and tests hypothetical metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), rapidly zeroing in on the most promising structures. These MOFs then can be synthesized and tested in the lab.

Using their method, the researchers quickly identified more than 300 different MOFs that are predicted to be better than any known material for methane (natural gas) storage. The researchers then synthesized one of the promising materials and found it beat the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) natural gas storage target by 10 percent.

There already are 13 million vehicles on the road worldwide today that run on natural gas -- including many buses in the U.S. -- and this number is expected to increase sharply due to recent discoveries of natural gas reserves.

In addition to gas storage and vehicles that burn cleaner fuel, MOFs may lead to better drug-delivery, chemical sensors, carbon capture materials and catalysts. MOF candidates for these applications could be analyzed efficiently using the Northwestern method.

"When our understanding of materials synthesis approaches the point where we are able to make almost any material, the question arises: Which materials should we synthesize?" said Randall Q. Snurr, professor of chemical and biological engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Snurr led the research. "This paper presents a powerful method for answering this question for metal-organic frameworks, a new class of highly versatile materials."

The study will be published Nov. 6 by the journal Nature Chemistry. It also will appear as the cover story in the February print issue of the journal.

Christopher E. Wilmer, a graduate student in Snurr's lab and first author of the paper, developed the new algorithm; Omar K. Farha, research associate professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Joseph T. Hupp, professor of chemistry, led the synthesis efforts.

"Currently, researchers choose to create new materials based on their imagining how the atomic structures might look," Wilmer said. "The algorithm greatly accelerates this process by carrying out such 'thought experiments' on supercomputers."

The researchers were able to determine which of the millions of possible MOFs from a given library of 102 chemical building block components were the most promising candidates for natural-gas storage. In just 72 hours, the researchers generated more than 137,000 hypothetical MOF structures. This number is much larger than the total number of MOFs reported to date by all researchers combined (approximately 10,000 MOFs). The Northwestern team then winnowed that number down to the 300 most promising candidates for high-pressure, room-temperature methane storage.

In synthesizing the natural-gas storage MOF that beat the DOE storage target by 10 percent, the research team showed experimentally that the material's actual performance agreed with the predicted properties.

The new algorithm combines the chemical "intuition" that chemists use to imagine novel MOFs with sophisticated molecular simulations to evaluate MOFs for their efficacy in different applications. The algorithm could help remove the bottleneck in the discovery process, the researchers said.

Contact: Megan Fellman
Northwestern University

Related biology news :

1. Progeria: Promising results from new gene therapy on animals
2. New method of growing high-quality graphene promising for next-gen technology
3. Study finds promising drug treatment for improving language, social function in people with autism
4. Cardiotrophin 1 shows promising results for treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome
5. Researcher tests promising drug on those with Down syndrome
6. Exonhit and BGI announce successful completion of a promising next-generation sequencing project
7. Grants awarded to help bring promising bioscience discoveries to market
8. Promising developments in vaccine research, development of a vaginal gel and PrEP lead to calls for a combination of biomedical and non biomedical approaches to HIV prevention policy
9. 22 of Americas most promising scientists selected as 2011 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences
10. A promising new approach to autoimmune diseases
11. Several abstracts on gout reveal true burden of disease and highlight promising new treatments
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/1/2015)... Oct. 1, 2015  Biometrics includes diverse set ... body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas, facial ... of biometrics technology has been constantly increasing in ... five years. In addition to the most prominent ... recognition, other means of biometric authentication are rapidly ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... , Sept. 29, 2015 News ... productivity while also saving energy , Minimized design ... Low Power Active Mode and embedded Fujitsu PalmSecure authentication ... Fujitsu today shows that good things come ... refreshed models to its enterprise desktop and mobile portfolio. ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... , September 28, 2015 ... expected to reach USD 12.03 billion by 2020, growing ... Technological advancements such as Backside Illumination (BSI) technique to ... over the forecast period.      (Logo: ... of the chip to reduce loss and, thus, reduce ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... PARK, N.J. and SAN DIEGO ... (BASF) and Mast Therapeutics, Inc. have agreed to collaborate ...  Currently, excipient-grade poloxamer 188 NF, marketed by BASF under ... used in a variety of pharmaceutical and biological applications, ... Poloxamer 188 is the starting material for Mast,s lead ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015  Generex Biotechnology Corporation ( ... a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with MediTemp Ltd. (MediTemp) ... a proprietary cooling technology designed to improve sperm quality in ... United States and three million men in ... 44 diagnosed as infertile.  For 42% of those men, the ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... Proove Biosciences, a commercial and research leader ... Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) Pain Center to ... Research Clinical Objectives Linking Genotypic and Phenotypic Association with Pain Outcomes) is one ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... Spirax Sarco, the leader in products ... CSM-C 600 compact clean steam generator . This unit is a skid ... of HTM2031, HTM2010, and EN285 standards. The CMS-C 600 generator can produce up ...
Breaking Biology Technology: