Methane capture in zeolite SBN. Blue represents adsorption sites, which are optimal for methane (CH4) uptake. Each site is connected to three other sites (yellow arrow) at optimal interaction distance.
Zeolites are unique structures that can be used for many different types of gas separations and storage applications because of their diverse topology from various networks of the framework atoms. In the team's simulations, one specific zeolite, dubbed SBN, captured enough medium source methane to turn it to high purity methane, which in turn could be used to generate efficient electricity.
Other zeolites, named ZON and FER, were able to concentrate dilute methane streams into moderate concentrations that could be used to treat coal-mine ventilation air.