• 3 minutes This Battery Uses Up CO2 to Create Energy
  • 5 minutes Shale Oil Fiasco
  • 9 minutes Don't sneeze. Coronavirus is a threat to oil markets and global economies
  • 12 minutes Historian Slams Greta. I Don't See Her in Beijing or Delhi.
  • 4 hours Boris Johnson taken decision about 5G Huawei ban by delay (fait accompli method)
  • 2 hours Demand for Diesel vs. Oil
  • 16 hours Which type of Hegemony will China follow
  • 7 hours Yesterday POLEXIT started (Poles do not want to leave EU, but Poland made the decisive step towards becoming dictatorship, in breach of accession treaty)
  • 1 day Here is Why People Lose Money Trading Natural Gas
  • 2 days Governments that wasted massive windfalls
  • 9 hours Environmentalists demand oil and gas companies *IN THE USA AND CANADA* reduce emissions to address climate change
  • 22 hours Tesla Will ‘Disappear’ Or ‘Lose 80%’ Of Its Value
  • 1 day Let’s take a Historical walk around the Rig
  • 1 day US Shale: Technology
  • 2 days We're freezing! Isn't it great? The carbon tax must be working!
  • 2 days 2nd Annual Great Oil Price Prediction Challenge of 2019

Breaking News:

Oil Prices Rise On Surprise Crude Draw

OPEC Considers Deeper Oil Cuts Amid Virus Market Meltdown

OPEC Considers Deeper Oil Cuts Amid Virus Market Meltdown

As leading OPEC producers downplayed…

U.S. Deals Major Blow To Iranian Investors

U.S. Deals Major Blow To Iranian Investors

Washington’s move to ban Iranians…

Soaking Up Greenhouse Gases Like A Sponge

Soaking Up Greenhouse Gases Like A Sponge

How can you safely dispose of an old refrigerator without letting the greenhouse gas Freon, which kept it cool, escape into the atmosphere? There have been a few efforts to address this problem, but so far all of them have fallen short.

Now, though, chemists at the University of Houston (UH) have produced a molecule that spontaneously assembles into a lightweight, spongy substance that can soak up huge quantities of many airborne pollutants.

It’s only flaw, it seems, is that the sponge is useless against one of the most common offenders, carbon dioixide, according to Ognjen Miljanic, an associate professor of chemistry at UH and leader of the team that created the new molecule.

Still, Miljanic told UH’s News & Events department, many other toxic chemicals per unit of mass pack a stronger greenhouse punch than CO2 by factors of hundreds and even thousands. Among them are Freon in its various forms as well as fluorocarbon, another refrigerant that also can be used as a lubricant. Fluorocarbons are so dangerous that they’ve been banned in the United States.

“We developed a molecule that self-assembles into a structure that can capture these greenhouse vapors to the tune of 75 percent by weight,” Miljanic said. “This molecule could be used to capture Freons from disposed refrigeration systems.”

Miljanic and his team report in the journal Nature Communications that the molecule they invented, which is combined with the corrosive, non-metallic gas fluorine, forms a structure containing pores with diameters measuring about 1.6 nanometers, or 1.6 billionths of a meter.

These molecules create the structure spontaneously because, being lined with fluorine atoms, have what Miljanic calls “a high affinity [to combine with] other molecules containing fluorine, such as fluorocarbons and Freons.”

Previous attempts to capture greenhouse gas emissions before they pollute the atmosphere also have included spongy materials with pores similar in size to the substance Miljanic and his team have developed. But those materials often were heavy because they didn’t use fluorine to coat the molecule but instead included substances that were metallic, contributing to the weight of the sponges.

These earlier attempts also led to sponges that became unstable when exposed to water, and were difficult to process and to recycle. The UH team, though, came up with a substance that, according to Miljanic, is “stable to water and composed from individual molecules held together only by weak interactions.”

“This latter feature makes this material lightweight, because there are no metal connectors” coating the molecules, Miljanic said.

What’s more, the weak interaction holding the molecules together is another asset of this new material, Miljanic said, because the sponges can be broken apart easily to make them the proper size for a specific use, or simply to recycle them.

One other benefit: If necessary, the sponge can be used in an environment as hot as 536 degrees Fahrenheit.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play