New technique sweeps smokestacks clean of CO2

January 9th, 2012 - 12:37 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 8 (IANS) A new process sweeps smokestacks clean of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.Alain Goeppert, G.K Surya Prakash and George A. Olah, chemistry Nobel Laureate, all from the Loker Hydrocarbon Institute at the University of Southern California explained that controlling CO2 emissions is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

They point out that existing methods for removing CO2 from smokestacks and other sources, including the atmosphere, are energy intensive, don’t work well and have other drawbacks.

Accordingly, the group turned to solid materials based on polyethylenimine, a readily available and low cost polymeric material.

Their tests showed that these inexpensive materials achieved some of the highest CO2 removal rates ever reported for humid air, under conditions that stymie other related materials.

The captured material then can be recycled and reused many times over without losing efficiency. Researchers suggest the materials may be useful on submarines, in smokestacks or out in the open atmosphere, where they could clean up CO2 pollution that comes from small point sources like cars or home heaters, representing about half of the total CO2 emissions related to human activity.

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