Theoretical Analysis of Physical and Chemical CO2 Absorption by Tri- and Tetraepoxidized Imidazolium Ionic Liquids

L Wylie and G Perli and J Avila and S Livi and J Duchet-Rumeau and MC Gomes and A Padua, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 126, 9901-9910 (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c06630

The efficient capture of CO2 from flue gas or directly from the atmosphere is a key subject to mitigate global warming, with several chemical and physical absorption methods previously reported. Through polarizable molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and high-level quantum chemical (QC) calculations, the physical and chemical absorption of CO2 by ionic liquids based on imidazolium cations bearing oxirane groups was investigated. The ability of the imidazolium group to absorb CO2 was found to be prevalent in both the tri-and tetraepoxidized imidazolium ionic liquids (ILs) with coordination numbers over 2 for CO2 within the first solvation shell in both systems. Thermodynamic analysis of the addition of CO2 to convert epoxy groups to cyclic carbonates also indicated that the overall reaction is exergonic for all systems tested, allowing for chemical absorption of CO2 to also be favored. The rate- determining step of the chemical absorption involved the initial opening of the epoxy ring through addition of the chloride anion and was seen to vary greatly between the epoxy groups tested. Among the groups tested, the less sterically hindered monoepoxy side of the triepoxidized imidazolium was shown to be uniquely capable of undergoing intramolecular hydrogen bonding and thus lowering the barrier required for the intermediate structure to form during the reaction. Overall, this theoretical investigation highlights the potential for epoxidized imidazolium chloride ionic liquids for simultaneous chemical and physical absorption of CO2.

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