BASF Delivers Industrial-Scale Production of Metal Organic Frameworks for Carbon Capture

Oct. 10, 2023
Production scale-up of MOF successfully completed for Canadian technology provider Svante Technologies.

BASF has successfully scaled production of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a material that acts like a sponge to soak up molecules, such as carbon dioxide, the company said Oct. 10.

The company will provide the material to Canadian carbon-capture and removal solutions provider Svante Technologies Inc. on a scale of “several hundred tons per year.”

BASF expects the development to yield sustainability benefits for heavy industry, including the chemicals sector.  The successful production of MOFs also presents a market opportunity for the company. This structure offers a high capacity for the storage of carbon dioxide, the dehumidification of air for room climate control and the adsorption of the greenhouse gas methane, notes BASF in a news release.

“Today, we have access to new business opportunities with a strong focus on sustainability based on our MOF production capabilities,” said Detlef Ruff, senior vice president of process catalysts at BASF. “MOFs have the potential to be a step change in our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and can bring our partners and their customers closer to reaching their net zero targets.”

BASF began working to synthesize MOFs on an industrial scale in the early 2000s. The company collaborated with U.S. chemist Omar Yaghi, who discovered MOFs in the late 1990s, with the aim of developing MOFs with the largest possible surface area and storage density.

MOFs are highly crystalline structures with nanometer-sized pores and a large surface area. A single gram of a MOF, about the size of a sugar cube, can have a surface area greater than a football field, according to an article by Julie Chao, the science writing lead in strategic communications at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Researchers have been working on methods to optimize MOF development in recent years. This includes the use of artificial intelligence to study many different types of MOFs, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The key to BASF scaling its MOF technology in a cost-effective way was the company's existing expertise in experience in catalysts and adsorbents, said Kerstin Hoffmann, a global communications manager with BASF. 

"The key is simplification during scale-up and manufacturing in the right assets: We don’t just take the lab MOF recipe and make it the same way on a larger scale – this would be expensive indeed," she said in an email response to Chemical Processing. "We rather take our experience from catalysts and adsorbents and use it here. MOFs, just like heterogeneous catalysts and adsorbents, are solid particles characterized through a defined inner structure. An optimized production recipe and the right manufacturing assets (which don’t differ significantly from standard catalyst manufacturing equipment) help then to bring cost down."

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Executive Editor

Jonathan Katz, executive editor, brings nearly two decades of experience as a B2B journalist to Chemical Processing magazine. He has expertise on a wide range of industrial topics. Jon previously served as the managing editor for IndustryWeek magazine and, most recently, as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for the manufacturing sector.

His knowledge areas include industrial safety, environmental compliance/sustainability, lean manufacturing/continuous improvement, Industry 4.0/automation and many other topics of interest to the Chemical Processing audience.

When he’s not working, Jon enjoys fishing, hiking and music, including a small but growing vinyl collection.

Jon resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

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