A major greenhouse gas, CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels is still mostly released into the atmosphere, adding to the burden of global warming.
One way to cut down on it is through a carbon capture: a chemical technique that removes CO2 out of emissions (“postcombustion”), preventing it from entering the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can then be either recycled or stored away in in gas or liquid form, a process known as sequestration.
Carbon capture can be done using so-called “high-performance membranes”, which are polymer filters that can specifically pick out CO2 from a mix of gases, such as those coming out of a factory’s flue. These membranes are environmentally-friendly, they don’t generate waste, they can intensify chemical processes, and can be used in a decentralized fashion. In fact, they are now considered as one of the most energy-efficient routes for reducing CO2 emissions.
Scientists led by Kumar Varoon Agrawal at EPFL Valais Wallis have now developed a new class of high-performance membranes that exceeds post-combustion capture targets by a significant margin. The membranes are based on single-layer-graphene with a selective layer thinner than 20 nm and are highly tunable in terms of chemistry, meaning that that can pave the way for next-generation high-performance membranes for several critical separations.
Current membranes are required to exceed 1000 gas permeation units (GPUs), and have a “CO2/N2 separation factor” above 20 – a measure of their carbon-capturing specificity. The membranes that the EPFL scientists developed show six-fold higher CO2 permeance at 6,180 GPUs with a separation factor of 22.5. The GPUs shot up to 11,790 when the scientists combined optimized graphene porosity, pore size, and functional groups (the chemical groups that actually react with CO2), while other membranes they made showed separation factors up to 57.2.
“Functionalizing CO2-selective polymeric chains on nanoporous graphene allows us to fabricate nanometer-thick yet CO2-selective membranes,” says Agrawal. “This two-dimensional nature of the membrane drastically increases the CO2permeance, making membranes even more attractive for carbon capture. The concept is highly generic, and a number of high-performance gas separations are possible in this way.”
Learn more: Next-gen membranes for carbon capture
The Latest on: Carbon capture
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The Latest on: Carbon capture
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Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and current richest man in the world, announced Thursday night that he would give $100 million, about five one-hundredths of his net worth, toward a prize to reward the best ...
- Tesla's Musk Offers $100M Reward for Best Carbon-Capture Techon January 22, 2021 at 2:45 pm
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,' tweeted Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk. 'Details next week.' ...
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Musk is likely looking for a technological solution that can pull carbon dioxide out of a planet's atmosphere, and reuse it for fuel, such as rocket propellant.
- Elon Musk will award $ 100 million for best carbon capture technologyon January 22, 2021 at 9:53 am
With the aim of achieving a technological development that captures carbon dioxide emissions, the great tycoon behind Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has given the option to participate and win a prize ...
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We asked top VCs including Vinod Khosla which startups to watch in 2021. Here are the 4 they offered up that are working on tech to capture carbon.
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Carbon capture, utilization and storage or sequestration is a process of removing carbon emissions to either store or reuse.
- Elon Musk to offer $100 million prize for 'best' carbon capture techon January 22, 2021 at 6:49 am
Tesla chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Thursday promised a $100 million prize for development of the “best” technology to capture carbon emissions.
- Elon Musk says he's donating $100 million for carbon-capture tech prizeon January 22, 2021 at 4:25 am
Elon Musk is putting a big chunk of change into the fight against climate change. "Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon-capture technology," the SpaceX and Tesla chief announced on ...
- Musk offers $100 million prize for carbon capture technologieson January 21, 2021 at 6:17 pm
The billionaire may be betting on carbon capture technologies to combat climate change. Elon Musk intends to offer $100 million to a successful project resulting in viable carbon capture technologies.
- Elon Musk Says He Will Give $100 Million For Carbon Capture Prizeon January 21, 2021 at 4:06 pm
Elon Musk said he plans to donate $100 million toward a prize for the best carbon capture technology, weeks after he became the world’s richest person.
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