Queen’s spin-out invents revolutionary porous liquid

Materials have potential to help address climate change

A new spin-out company set up by scientists from Queen's University in Belfast and the University of Liverpool, has invented a revolutionary class of liquid materials that could play a starring role in helping to save the planet.

Professor Stuart James from Queen's University and Professor Andy Cooper from the University of Liverpool, who invented what could be the world's first "problem-solving liquid", want to use their science breakthrough to help solve technological challenges like carbon capture.

Prof James and Prof Cooper invented porous liquids three years ago. These are a new class of materials that had never existed before and which contain microscopic cavities or pores or which are each the size of a single molecule.

The scientists say what makes porous liquids different is that they contain up to 10,000 times the number of cavities that are found in other liquids - and up 20 per cent of the porous liquid is empty space.


Both Queen’s University and the University of Liverpool are backing their spin-out company, Porous Liquid Technologies.

What makes this new science such an exciting breakthrough, according to Prof James, is the many potential ways that the new liquids can be used, particularly because of the fact that they can absorb large amounts of gas.

Carbon capture

“They have tremendous opportunities because one of their major benefits is that they can be circulated which means they can be used for many applications from purifying natural gas to reducing the costs associated with carbon capture and the purification process of biogas,” he added.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business