Experimental and theoretical investigation of homogeneous gaseous reaction of CO2(g) + nH2O(g) + nNH3(g) → products (n = 1, 2).


Decreasing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere is key for reducing global warming. To facilitate the CO2 emission reduction efforts, our laboratory conducted experimental and theoretical investigations of the homogeneous gaseous reaction of CO2(g) + nH2O(g) + nNH3(g) → (NH4)HCO3(s)/(NH4)2CO3(s) (n = 1 and 2) using Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy and ab initio molecular orbital theory. Our FTIR-ATR experimental results indicate that (NH4)2CO3(s) and (NH4)HCO3(s) are formed as aerosol particulate matter when carbon dioxide reacts with ammonia and water in the gaseous phase at room temperature. Ab initio study of this chemical system suggested that the reaction may proceed through formation of NH3·H2O(g), NH3·CO2(g), and CO2·H2O(g) complexes. Subsequent complexes, NH3·H2O·CO2 and (NH3)2·H2O·CO2, can be formed by adding gaseous reactants to the NH3·H2O(g), NH3·CO2(g), and CO2·H2O(g) complexes, respectively. The NH3·H2O·CO2 and (NH3)2·H2O·CO2 complexes can then be rearranged to produce (NH4)HCO3 and (NH4)2CO3 as final products via a transition state, and the NH3 molecule acts as a medium accepting and donating hydrogen atoms in the rearrangement process. Our computational results also reveal that the presence of an additional water molecule can reduce the activation energy of the rearrangement process. The high activation energy predicted in the present work suggests that the reaction is kinetically not favored, and our experimental observation of (NH4)HCO3(s) and (NH4)2CO3(s) may be attributed to the high concentrations of reactants increasing the reaction rate of the title reactions in the reactor.


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