The metal sponge that captures CO2

  • CO2 emissions from industry make up 40% of total CO2 emissions worldwide. Since 1990, improvements in energy intensity have been more than offset by increased total production, such that energy consumption and CO2 emissions have continued to rise dramatically and it is estimated that by 2050 (relative to 2006 levels), if industrial emissions remain unchecked, total CO2 emissions will increase by up to 90% compared to 2007.
  • The NOTT-202 is a “metal-organic framework” that works like a sponge and has the ability to capture CO2. Until now, such frameworks have been good primarily at gathering any gas passing through them; those that were selective for CO2 have proven to have a low capacity for storing the gas. This technology allows the selective storage of a significant amount of CO2, raising hopes for a better way of trapping and storing the greenhouse gas for long periods of time.
  • The findings not only suggest a promising future for the carbon capture and storage (CCS) market, but could also pave the way for a broader range of absorbent materials, each used to capture specific gases during different processes and in different environments.

Before the material can be developed to the point at which it can actually be used to capture greenhouse gases on a large scale, many advances will be required—but all are achievable as long as multiple disciplines within industry and academia continue to work together. This will involve concerns over efficient large-scale production, safe disposal, durable usage, good separation, and low-cost regeneration.

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About Joao Delgado

Joao is a Research Fellow in Futures Research and leads on medium-large scale futures projects at CERF. Amongst other projects, he has led the development of scenarios for the future of river basin management for the Environment Agency. His professional interests include veterinary science, epidemiology, risk and systems thinking.
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