Tuning porosity in macroscopic monolithic metal-organic frameworks for exceptional natural gas storage.
Widespread access to greener energy is required in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. A significant barrier to cleaner natural gas usage lies in the safety/efficiency limitations of storage technology. Despite highly porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) demonstrating record-breaking gas-storage capacities, their conventionally powdered morphology renders them non-viable. Traditional powder shaping utilising high pressure or chemical binders collapses porosity or creates low-density structures with reduced volumetric adsorption capacity. Here, we report the engineering of one of the most stable MOFs, Zr-UiO-66, without applying pressure or binders. The process yields centimetre-sized monoliths, displaying high microporosity and bulk density. We report the inclusion of variable, narrow mesopore volumes to the monoliths' macrostructure and use this to optimise the pore-size distribution for gas uptake. The optimised mixed meso/microporous monoliths demonstrate Type II adsorption isotherms to achieve benchmark volumetric working capacities for methane and carbon dioxide. This represents a critical advance in the design of air-stable, conformed MOFs for commercial gas storage.