Cornell’s Nanoscale Carbon-scrubbing Sponges

© Provided/Genggeng Qi – A scanning electron microscopy image of a pristine silica support, before the amine is added.

We’ve had posts on this blog about carbon output by consumer technology, motor vehicles, and food. We’ve also posted, including quite recently, on carbon storage, often in forests. Less numerous are our posts on carbon output by power plants, probably because good news on technological advances in the field is infrequent (at least relative to the bad news). But scientists at Cornell have recently developed a nanoscale scaffold of silica that comes in the form of powder and could replace the current method of carbon capture called amine scrubbing. Anne Ju reports for the Cornell Chronicle below:

In the fight against global warming, carbon capture – chemically trapping carbon dioxide before it releases into the atmosphere – is gaining momentum, but standard methods are plagued by toxicity, corrosiveness and inefficiency. Using a bag of chemistry tricks, Cornell materials scientists have invented low-toxicity, highly effective carbon-trapping “sponges” that could lead to increased use of the technology.

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