Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit — even more in certain polar regions. While this doesn’t seem a lot, the effects of this global warming are becoming more and more apparent. The heat is melting glaciers, shifting precipitation patterns and forcing animals to move from their natural habitats.
To help combat global warming, a team led by Dr. Mert Atilhan from Texas A&M University and Dr. Cafer Yavuz at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), is working on a new porous polymer that can store natural gas more effectively than anything currently being used. Their research focuses on adsorbed natural gas (ANG), a process to store natural gas that is a safer and cheaper alternative to compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas.
“Currently we are facing serious issues that are related to global warming due to the excessive use of coal and petroleum,” Atilhan said. “Natural gas is a much cleaner source and there is an abundant amount of gas being explored in the United States, the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere all around the world. If natural gas can be stored effectively, it can be utilized easily, even in remote areas.”
Natural gas burns more cleanly as a fuel, making it a useful alternative in vehicles, and applications such as cooking, heating or running generators. It contains mostly methane and ethane. These light gases have very high vapor pressure at ambient temperatures, and their storage requires either high-pressure compression, adsorbent systems or an extreme reduction of temperature. In the ANG process, natural gas adsorbs to a porous adsorbent at relatively low pressure (100 to 900 psi) and ambient temperature, solving both the high-pressure and low-temperature problems.
“We looked into designing an ANG adsorbent from a different perspective, most research is focused on raising the upper limit, the total capacity by introducing more pore volume,” said Yavuz, adding that the more pore volume also meant more leftover gas since it remains comfortably stored even if the pressure went below the minimum tank pressure needed by a vehicle. “We said, ‘Let’s make sure the porous material squeezes all out when desorbed to the minimum pressure.’”
The Latest on: Natural gas storage
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The Latest on: Natural gas storage
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