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A common method for turning natural gas directly into energy is to use a process known as chemical looping, in which a solid, oxygen rich material is introduced to the gas. The oxygen atoms in the “oxygen carrier” (as the oxygen rich material is called) then interact with the natural gas, combusting and releasing energy.
A team of researchers from the North Carolina State University claim that they have identified a new oxygen carrier which allows the chemical looping process to occur up to 70 times faster, whilst also providing a means to capture the carbon dioxide released by the reaction.
Fanxing Li, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State Unversity, explained that “this could make power generation from natural gas both cleaner and more efficient.”
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The reason for the increased efficiency is that Li’s team has developed a new type of oxygen carrier that is not made from the traditional ceramic materials, but rather a mixed ionic-electronic conductor held within a nanoscale matrix of iron oxide which releases the oxygen atoms much faster, increasing the rate of reaction.
Other by products of the reaction include water vapour and CO2, but by condensing the water vapour the researchers found that they can isolate and concentrate the CO2 for capture and sequestration.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…