CO2 capture in amine solutions: modelling and simulations with non-empirical methods

Absorption in aqueous amine solutions is the most advanced technology for the capture of CO2, although suffering from drawbacks that do not allow exploitation on large scale. The search for optimum solvents has been pursued with empirical methods and has also motivated a number of computational approaches over the last decade. However, a deeper level of understanding of the relevant chemical reactions in solution is required so as to contribute to this effort. We present here a brief critical overview of the most recent applications of computer simulations using ab initio methods. Comparison of their outcome shows a strong dependence on the structural models employed to represent the molecular systems in solution and on the strategy used to simulate the reactions. In particular, the results of very recent ab initio molecular dynamics augmented with metadynamics are summarized, showing the crucial role of water, which has been so far strongly underestimated both in the calculations and in the interpretation of experimental data. Indications are given for advances in computational approaches that are necessary if meant to contribute to the rational design of new solvents.


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