Chemists of Lehigh University have engineered new porous materials to adsorb [adhesion of gas to surface] both CO2 and methane from flue gas.
In their Nature publication they call the new greenhouse gas binding agents PECONFs, for ‘porous electron-rich covalent organonitridic frameworks.’
Unlike other materials that can be used for CO2 binding in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, PECONFs would be cheap and easy to produce and resilient to oxidation up to temperatures of 400 degrees Celsius – which means they can be used close to the concentrated carbon source of power plants.
The researchers hope to see their material used to capture carbon dioxide from point sources like coal-fired power plants, as ‘a solution for stabilising the CO2 level in the atmosphere.’
But in 4 years time the CO2 concentration will already surpass 400 ppm. Add up the other greenhouse gases, like nitrous oxide, methane and CFCs, and [although there are many contrasting ways to quantify the urgency] we really aren’t more than a decade away from 450 ppm CO2 equivalents, the internationally accepted concentration that should limit the chance of more than 2 degrees warming to 50 percent at most – according to IPCC 4AR climate sensitivity.
So instead of ‘just lowering emissions,’ soon we’ll have to start thinking in terms of negative emissions – and that’s where improved CCS technology could come in very handy as well. It is called BECCS, Biomass Energy and CCS [you get the idea], and last month it was even discussed by the IPCC – as a (pseudo) geoengineering option.
[The researchers think their PECONFs can also be used to extract methane from nitrogen-rich natural gas fields, in order to develop new commercially viable energy sources from such fields.]
© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org