In this sense, a research group of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Granada works on a project subsidized by the Spanish Ministry of Environmental Issues to obtain activated coal from polymeric waste as raw materials.
Activated coal is a solid with a big specific area, as it presents numerous pores of the order of the nanometres which make that a surface area of a small quantity of coal ranks equally with the area of a football pitch, as points out the coordinator of the group Francisco Javier López Garzón.
It is used to manufacture filters for cigarettes, in catalysis processes, or in the decontamination of the atmosphere, among other applications. This is, precisely, in the ambit of gaseous effluents depuration, where the research group has been working for four years to obtain activated coal with a developed and homogeneous porosity and lower production expenses at the same time. In general, commercial activated coal are obtained from precursors like olive pits, almond shells or coconut shell, natural and heterogeneous products that produce heterogeneous coal, unselective as regards the absorption of pollutant substances.
Scientists have found an alternative to the use of organic polymers as precursors. However, such precursors are very expensive. That is why they have selected a waste polymer like terephthalate of polyethylene, commonly known as PET, a plastic material used in the production of drink containers. Taking into account that such waste is calculated in millions of tons in all Europe, it is an abundant raw material, easily available, because at best, these containers end up in controlled garbage dumps, whose salvage would involve the compliance of the European regulation currently in force.
The transformation of the PET into active coal is carried out by means of a process of pyrolysis, this is, the material is burnt in a special oven and in the absence of oxygen, in such a way that it does not react with coal, which is the desired product. The researchers have obtained a highly porous, selective and uniform active coal, as they have proved through absorption tests carried out with molecules of different sizes, from nitrogen to organic vapours. Faced with the obtained results, the team is experimenting with other polymeric materials, at the same time that they optimize the production process to obtain a performance of 60%, as an important fraction of the PET volatilizes during the process, and it is necessary to recover it and turn it into coal.
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy