- Category: Technology
19 Feb 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 10:41
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A team of researchers from Monash University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization developed a ground-breaking method to capture, store and recycle carbon emissions using sunlight.
Dubbed as dynamic photo-switching, the method employs a photosensitive metal organic framework material that can absorb large amounts of carbon emissions and then release it when exposed to sunlight.
According to the Australian researchers, the carbon-and-release method is particularly energy-efficient, requiring only ultraviolet light to prompt the release of captured carbon dioxide.
Dr. Matthew Hill, head of the research team from C.S.I.R.O., compared the method to a sponge that is soaked in the water and then squeezed out.
"This is an exciting development for carbon capture because concentrated solar energy can be used instead of further coal-based energy to drive the process," said Dr. Hill.
Traditionally, the carbon capture process uses liquid absorbers such as amines to capture and absorb carbon dioxide and other emission gases. These are then heated to trigger the release of the captured gases for storage. The entire process is consumes as much as 30 percent of a power plant’s production capacity.
The M.O.F.’s can absorb as much as 1 liter of nitrogen gas in just one gram of material and does so using less energy.
“The M.O.F.s are impregnated with light-responsive azobenzene molecules which react to U.V. light and trigger the release of CO2. It is this reaction, and the material's ability to bend and flex, which makes the material we have created so unique,” said Richelle Lyndon, lead researcher and a student from Monash University.
An M.O.F. sponge instantaneously releases up to 64 per cent of absorbed carbon dioxide when exposed to concentrated U.V. light.
Currently, the researchers are working to improve the material by increasing the efficiency of carbon dioxide to levels fit for an industrial environment.
The study was supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, which provides grants for scientific studies that could assist the development of the Australian industry. – EcoSeed Staff