- Category: Technology
11 Jul 2013
- Published on Thursday, 11 July 2013 09:11
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Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed a new nanomaterial that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations.
The nanomaterial, called a “metal-organic framework,” can separate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from nitrogen in the waste gas released by coal power generation that is a major contributor to climate change.
“It’s like a sponge but at a nanoscale. The material has small pores that gas molecules can fit into – a carbon dioxide molecule fits but a nitrogen molecule is slightly too big. That’s how we separate them,” said Associate Professor Christopher Sumby.
The researchers pointed out that the material that they have developed is much more energy efficiency compared to other current methods of separating carbon dioxide from nitrogen which require a lot of energy and are expensive.
Associate Professor Sumby noted that the material could be used as it is, but there are probably smarter ways in implementing its benefits.
“One of the next steps we’re pursuing is taking the material in powder form and dispersing it in a membrane. That may be more practical for industrial use,” added the associate professor.
Researchers of the study noted that their newly developed material can be used in coal-fired power stations across the world along with their home-country of Australia.
“Removing carbon dioxide from the flue gas mixture is the focus of a lot of research. Most of Australia’s energy generation still comes from coal. Changing to cleaner energies is not that straightforward but, if we can clean up the emissions, we’ve got a great stop-gap technology,” the associate professor explained. – EcoSeed Staff