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 Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>