Researchers from Nottingham University, the University of Oxford, and Peking University in China have developed a new non-toxic material to assist in capturing and burying carbon emissions from power plants.
Named NOTT-300, the new porous yet absorbent material is made from mix of water, aluminum nitrate salt, and cheap organic materials, and is non-toxic compared to the ammonia-based materials currently used in the process. According to the research published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the NOTT-300 material requires less energy to regenerate and reuse once carbon saturates it and is removed for storage.
“I feel this can been viewed as a revolution to a certain degree,” said Sihai Yang from Nottingham University. “There is promising potential to overcome the traditional amine material on both environmental and economic grounds.”
Lab experiments with the new material captured close to 100 percent of the carbon dioxide it was exposed to and the scientists say it should maintain at least a 90 percent success rate in real world conditions. The material picks up harmful gases like sulphur dioxide yet shows no adsorption of hydrogen, methane, nitrogen and oxygen. For commercial applications, the team believes the material could be used in a series of interchangeable filters which can be removed, cleaned, and put back into service repeatedly, making it even more efficient (and cheaper) than systems currently in development.
Carbon capture is not without naysayers, including those who are right to point out that we are not sure what will happen to all that CO2 stored underground for long periods of time. But for the time being, until we are willing to make real substantial cuts in emissions, we need a stopgap measure to slow the release of CO2 into our atmosphere before it tips the scales too far. NOTT-300 may be just the material to help us do that.
Chimney Exhaust Waste Amount Of Co2 Into The Atmosphere image from BigStock.
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