A NEW ZIRCONIUM INORGANIC BUILDING BRICK FORMING METAL-ORGANIC FRAMEWORKS WITH EXCEPTIONAL STABILITY

Porous crystals are strategic materials with industrial applications within petrochemistry, catalysis, gas storage, and selective separation. Their unique properties are based on the molecular-scale porous character. However, a principal limitation of zeolites and similar oxide-based materials is the relatively small size of the pores, typically in the range of medium-sized molecules, limiting their use in pharmaceutical and fine chemical applications. Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) provided a breakthrough in this respect. New MOFs appear at a high and an increasing pace, but the appearances of new, stable inorganic building bricks are rare. Here we present a new zirconium-based inorganic building brick that allows the synthesis of very high surface area MOFs with unprecedented stability. The high stability is based on the combination of strong Zr−O bonds and the ability of the inner Zr6-cluster to rearrange reversibly upon removal or addition of μ3-OH groups, without any changes in the connecting carboxylates. The weak thermal, chemical, and mechanical stability of most MOFs is probably the most important property that limits their use in large scale industrial applications. The Zr−MOFs presented in this work have the toughness needed for industrial applications; decomposition temperature above 500 °C and resistance to most chemicals, and they remain crystalline even after exposure to 10 tons/cm2 of external pressure. Access the Research article here.

ProfMOF project awarded 12,5 million NOK from the Norwegian Research Council

One of the largest allocations ever made by the council’s FORNY programme

With over 30 applicants applying for the FORNY2020 funding, ProfMOF is proud to announce that we have received a 12,5 million NOK award from the Norwegian Research Council for our development project. One of the largest allocations ever made. ProfMOF’s ambition is to verify the technology and markets for large-scale production and industrial utilization of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), an advanced class of nanoporous materials.

“We are very pleased that we were among the applicants that was granted the funding. It symbolizes the vast market potential our products represent. The funding will allow us to fast-track our purpose, that is, providing our products for industrial processes,” said Svein-Olav Torø, Managing Director.  

Cutting-edge materials

Today’s MOFs are developed to ensure exceptional thermal, chemical, and mechanical stability. Making them very well suited to a broad array of industrial processes. A major concern about utilizing MOFs have earlier been their poor stability. This is now history. The new class of MOFs will most certainly change how the world conducts its operations within various industries.

MOFs can be useful in industries involved in storing and transportation of gases, absorption or separation of substances or even various methods of catalytic reactions.

“MOFs can, for instance, be used in processes involving high drug loadings or storage of gases. MOFs can absorb and release large amounts of substances due to their large surface-areas, which makes them exceptional enablers for increased storage capacity,” said Sachin Maruti Chavan, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder.

“MOFs enables more gas to be stored in tanks with the same volume at the same pressure,” Chavan highlights.

Revolutionary, isn’t it? But that’s not all, these are just a few examples of the versatile range of processes MOFs can be utilized.

Strong interest

In recent years, the MOF-material have received strong academic interest, mostly due to its unique properties: stability, cost effectiveness, and functionality. With funding from the Norwegian Research Council, the ProfMOF project is able to further develop and commercialize MOF-materials.

“ProfMOF works closely with our partners; the University of Oslo, Inven2, and Kongsberg Innovasjon. Together we will verify the production process, product, and market. Our goal is to make the MOF-material investor-ready,” Torø explained.

Innovation is key

The main focus moving forward will be to establish a production line, initiatives to reduce production costs, providing MOF samples, increase production parameters, as well as verifying the market potential.

“Innovation is in our nature, we will strive towards an even advanced product and seek improvements in every possible way,” said Karl Petter Lillerund, professor and co-founder.

The FORNY2020 programme distributed a total of 100 million NOK in this funding round. The programme is established to ensure that research and development results from publicly-funded research institutions are brought to the market.

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