University of California scientists discover cheap carbon capture technology

(ORDO NEWS) — A simple and cheap approach could be useful for capturing carbon in smokestacks and even car exhausts.

Researchers have discovered a new method of capturing carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels using cheap and simple chemicals already used in industry.

The research team believes the approach is scalable so that it can be used not only on industrial chimneys, but also on vehicle exhaust and other mobile sources of carbon dioxide.

The breakthrough, reported in Science Advances, used melamine, a polymer that is the main component of Formica, a type of multilayer composite material.

Melamine was combined with diethylenetriamine and cyanuric acid (commercially available chemicals) and treated with formaldehyde, which created nanosized pores on the polymer.

The new method creates a material that can absorb almost all of the carbon dioxide in the flue gas mixture in about three minutes. The system operates at 40°C and does not emit carbon dioxide until it is heated to 80°C.

“In this study, we focused on developing cheaper materials for capture and storage and elucidating the mechanism of interaction between CO2 and the material,” said UC Berkeley lead author Haiyana Mao.

“This work creates a common industrialization method for sustainable CO2 capture using porous networks.

We hope that in the future we will be able to develop a device for capturing car exhaust, or maybe a device for a building or even a coating on the surface of furniture.”

The team continues to refine the formulation of this polymer to create an even more efficient system. The goal of their work is to provide an efficient, scalable, recyclable, high capacity carbon dioxide capture system. Achieving this could be a game-changer for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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