Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New membrane catches CO2

20.09.2007
Approximately one third of the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the world come from energy production. CO2 free gas-powered plants are based on carbon dioxide being removed from the waste gases and deposited in the ground.

However, before CO2 can be stored, it must be separated from the waste gases. The current methods used for this type of filtration are expensive and require the use of chemicals. A new membrane technology is going to change that.

A new type of membrane has been internationally patented by researchers at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. The membrane is made from a plastic material that has been structured by means of nano technology. It catches CO2 while other waste gases pass freely.

The technology is effective, inexpensive and eco-friendly, and can be used for practically all types of CO2 removal from other gases. Its effectiveness increases proportionally to the concentration of CO2 in the gas.

Copying lungs

This method is called «facilitated transport» and is comparable to the way our lungs get rid of CO2 when we breathe: it is a complex but effective mechanism.

”The novelty is that instead of using a filter that separates directly between CO2 and other molecules, we use a so-called agent. It is a fixed carrier in the membrane that helps to convert the gas we want to remove,” says NTNU Professor May-Britt Hägg. She is head of the research group Memfo that works on the new membrane technology.

The agent helps so that the CO2 molecules in combination with moisture form the chemical formula HCO3 (bicarbonate), which is then quickly transported through the membrane. In this manner, the CO2 is released while the other gases are retained by the membrane.

Nanoplastic

Various materials are used to make membranes. It could be plastic, carbon and/or ceramic materials. Membrane separation of gases is a highly complex process. The materials must be tailored in an advanced way to be adapted to separate specific gases. They must be long-lasting and stable.

The new membrane is made of plastic, structured by means of nano technology to function according to the intention. Membranes based on nano-structured materials are eco-friendly and will reduce the costs of CO2 capture.

”With this method, we can remove more CO2 and obtain a cleaner product for smaller plants. Thus, it becomes less expensive,” Hägg says.

”We also have membranes today that are used to separate CO2 and have been used for a couple of decades, but these membranes are used for natural gases at high pressures, and are not suited for CO2 from flue gas. If the membrane separated poorly, very large amounts of the material is needed, and that makes this separation expensive,“ Professor Hägg explains.

Membranes have a major potential to become an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative in the future. An international patent has been taken out for the new type. Manufacturers both in Europe and the USA have taken an interest in putting it into production, the professor reveals.

Testing in Europe

Memfo recently joined a consortium of 26 European businesses and institutions within a project named NanoGloWa – Nanostructured Membranes against Global Warming. The consortium has received EUR 13 million to develop such membranes. One of these millions is reserved for Memfo.

According to Hägg, the new technology ought to be very interesting for coal-powered plants. “Within a five-year period, the plan is to test the membrane technology in four large power plants in Europe. We believe this will result in an international breakthrough for energy-efficient CO2 membranes,” she says.

When it comes to gas-powered plants, the concentration of CO2 is so low that the pressure in the waste gas must be increased before the gas can be cleaned with this method. However, Professor Hägg reveals that Statoil is currently developing a method for pressurized exhaust that could be combined with this membrane technology, and that would make it interesting for purification in gas-powered plants as well.

Besides CO2 purification in energy production, the method could be used for more or less any type of purification where carbon dioxide is removed from other gases.

”For instance, we are testing this method to purify CO2 from laughing gas in hospitals, and the results are promising,” concludes Professor May-Britt Hägg.

By Tore Oksholen

Nina Tveter | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ntnu.no

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>