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University of Melbourne develops carbon dioxide-specific ‘molecular sieve’

A molecular sieve, specifically designed to trap and store carbon dioxide molecules, could be key to the development of a cost-effective carbon capture and storage method.

According to a team of researchers from the University of Melbourne’s Cooperative Research Center for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, their technology works somewhat like a trap-door, with the material only allowing certain molecules to enter.

Once the carbon dioxide molecules are in, the “trap-door” closes and the carbon dioxide molecules remain.

Professor Paul Webley and his team, which included Ph.D. student Jin Shang and research fellow Gang Li from the Melbourne School of Engineering, worked on the technology which is a variation of a molecular sieve.

A molecular sieve is an ultra-fine filter system that captures a variety of molecules – in this case carbon dioxide.

“Because the process allows only carbon dioxide molecules to be captured, it will reduce the cost and energy required for separating carbon dioxide,” said Professor Webley.

Capturing carbon dioxide is crucial to a cleaner future and developing a method to separate and store carbon dioxide is currently of great interest to scientists, industry leaders and governments.

Aside from carbon capture, the new molecular sieve can also be used in the processing of natural gas. Many natural gas fields contain excess carbon dioxide that must be removed before the gas can be liquefied and shipped. The purer the natural gas, the less emissions it has. – EcoSeed Staff

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