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
Antibiotics: New substances break bacterial resistance
12.11.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
How the Zika virus can spread
11.11.2019 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...
In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.
An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...
An international research group has observed new quantum properties on an artificial giant atom and has now published its results in the high-ranking journal Nature Physics. The quantum system under investigation apparently has a memory - a new finding that could be used to build a quantum computer.
The research group, consisting of German, Swedish and Indian scientists, has investigated an artificial quantum system and found new properties.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reported a new mechanism to speed up the charging of lithium-ion...
Northwestern University chemists have used visible light and extremely tiny nanoparticles to quickly and simply make molecules that are of the same class as...
05.11.2019 | Event News
30.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
12.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
12.11.2019 | Life Sciences
12.11.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering