Scientists from Mainz and Aschaffenburg developed a method to protect the ozone layer from the damaging effects of the chlorofluorocarbon Freon 11
Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences have managed to make a breakthrough when it comes to dealing with the extremely ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon Freon 11. Their findings could make a major contribution to protecting the endangered ozone layer.
Freon 11 is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). These substances were previously used, among other things, as coolants in refrigerators and as foaming agents for polyurethane foams. In the 1970s scientists realized that CFCs were damaging the protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and were also responsible for the appearance of the ozone hole. In addition, Freon 11 is 4,750 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, additionally contributing to global warming.
Although the Montreal Protocol banned the production and trade of this CFC in the late 1980s, it is still released today when refrigerators are recycled and is even traded on the black market. The ozone-depleting substance has also recently been the subject of repeated scientific and media attention.
A study published in the journal Nature reported an alarming recurrence and a sharp increase in the global release of Freon 11, which the authors were able to attribute to extensive illegal production and use of this substance in Chinese polyurethane foam factories.
Being able to effectively adsorb and detect Freon 11 at an early stage, it would seem, is thus more important than ever. "If we can learn to safely handle this environmentally harmful substance, it would be not only of great scientific interest but also, and above all, a matter of worldwide benefit," emphasized Professor Siegfried Waldvogel of JGU, corresponding author of the study.
Sustainable and environmentally-friendly method of binding Freon 11
In their paper in the journal Global Challenges, the scientists from Mainz and Aschaffenburg describe a method of effectively binding both airborne and liquid phase Freon 11 using modified cyclic sugar molecules, i.e., a substance called methyl-substituted α-cyclodextrin. This would prevent the release of the environmentally harmful foaming agent into the atmosphere, where it additionally impairs the stratosphere's ability to protect against UV radiation.
The process of Freon 11 binding is reversible and the adsorbent medium can be fully regenerated under controlled conditions. The recovered material can also be reused. This makes the process a sustainable and environmentally-friendly method of binding this extremely ozone-depleting substance, a method that can be readily employed when old refrigerators are scrapped, for example.
In addition, the research teams at Mainz and Aschaffenburg have been able to transfer this concept to an optical sensor device, making it possible to detect low concentrations of Freon 11 quickly and reliably.
Global Challenges Cover August 2018
Ill./©: Journals: D. Ryvlin, M. Girschikofsky, D. Schollmeyer, R. Hellmann, S. R. Waldvogel, Global Challenges 2018, 2, 1800057. https://doi.org/10.1002/gch2.201800057
Professor Dr. Siegfried R. Waldvogel
Institute of Organic Chemistry
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-26060
fax +49 6131 39-26777
D. Ryvlin et al., Methyl‐Substituted α‐Cyclodextrin as Affinity Material for Storage, Separation, and Detection of Trichlorofluoromethane, Global Challenges, 12 August 2018,
http://www.chemie.uni-mainz.de/OC/AK-Waldvogel/ – Waldvogel Lab at the JGU Institute of Organic Chemistry
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/20566646/2018/2/8 – Global Challenges August 2018
Petra Giegerich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Scientists discovered 20 new gnat species in Brazil
24.09.2018 | Estonian Research Council
Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells
21.09.2018 | NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
24.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
24.09.2018 | Earth Sciences
24.09.2018 | Health and Medicine