Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fantastic plastic could cut CO2 emissions and purify water

15.10.2007
A new membrane that mimics pores found in plants has applications in water, energy and climate change mitigation.

Announced today in the international journal Science, the new plastic membrane allows carbon dioxide and other small molecules to move through its hourglass-shaped pores while preventing the movement of larger molecules like methane. Separating carbon dioxide from methane is important in natural gas processing and gas recovery from landfill.

The new material was developed as part of an international collaboration involving researchers from Hanyang University in Korea, the University of Texas and CSIRO, through its Water for a Healthy Country Flagship.

“This plastic will help solve problems of small molecule separation, whether related to clean coal technology, separating greenhouse gases, increasing the energy efficiency of water purification, or producing and delivering energy from hydrogen,” Dr Anita Hill of CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering said.

“The ability of the new plastic to separate small molecules surpasses the limits of any conventional plastics.

“It can separate carbon dioxide from natural gas a few hundred times faster than current plastic membranes and its performance is four times better in terms of purity of the separated gas.”

The secret to the new plastic lies in the hourglass shape of its pores, which help to separate molecules faster and using less energy than other pore shapes. In plant cell membranes, hourglass-shaped pores known as aquaporins selectively conduct water molecules in and out of cells while preventing the passage of other molecules such as salt.

The research shows how the plastics can be systematically adjusted to block or pass different molecules depending on the specific application. For example, these membranes may provide a low energy method for the removal of salt from water, carbon dioxide from natural gas, or hydrogen from nitrogen.

Each of these small molecule separations has impact on Australia’s interrelated issues of water scarcity, clean energy, and climate change mitigation.

“The new plastic is durable and can withstand high temperature, which is needed for many carbon capture applications. Heat-stable plastics usually have very low gas transport rates, but this plastic surprised us by its heightened ability to transport gases,” Dr Hill said.

The research is a partnership between Hanyang University Korea, led by Professor Dr Young Moo Lee and, the University of Texas, led by Professor Benny Freeman, and CSIRO.

Dr Hill and her team analysed the material, which was initially engineered by Ho Bum Park at Hanyang University, to show how it worked.

“Because it is so much more efficient than conventional plastic membranes, this material has huge potential to reduce the environmental footprint of water recycling and desalination,” Director of the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Dr Tom Hatton said.

“Our Flagship, with state governments, water utilities and university partners, is working overtime to improve the sustainability of our water resources. We know how to desalinate and we know how to recycle and the challenge is to do this more efficiently and reliably without adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

“This global partnership has the goal of generating scientific understanding that underpins the development and implementation of new membrane technologies for energy and the environment.

“It is also a demonstration of how collaboration across boundaries can produce transformational science with potential societal benefits."

Andrea Wild | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.csiro.au

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>