In the 19th century, the primary energy source was coal, and in the 20th century, it was petroleum. Now that underground fuel reserves are dwindling, we need to look to gases as sources for fuels and chemical products. But gases are difficult to handle and store compared to solids and liquids.
In his Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Susumu Kitagawa from the Institute of Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University, Japan, introduces porous materials as ideal vessels for gas handling. Porous materials such as zeolites have been known for centuries, but metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), which comprise metal ions and organic ligands, were developed only recently.
These materials have many advantages: their synthesis can be tailored for specific applications, they have a high porosity, they are flexible, and their internal spaces behave as a collective unit. They also have diverse electronic structures and a range of applications. As an example, MOFs that are able to separate CO or CO2 from gas mixtures have been developed. MOFs have made an immense contribution to the field of materials for energy and environmental issues.
- Porous Materials and the Age of Gas,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015.