One of the ways to reduce carbon emissions is to capture the carbon that we generate in a number activities such as energy production. Most electricity is generated by coal-burning plant which produces the bulk of today’s carbon emissions.

However, until recently, the methods used to capture carbon emissions are far from efficient as a great deal of energy is required to transfer the captured carbon from the capture material to the final storage location. The chemists at University of South Florida and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology are working on a reusable way that is more cost-effective and efficient in capturing and separating carbon dioxide: metal organic material (“organic” means that its molecules contain Carbon).

The most significant benefit of the metal organic material is its effectiveness at capturing carbon, especially in the presence of water vapor. With other materials, water vapor will interfere with the carbon capturing process. Metal organic material has a structure that is more porous, which is great for trapping gas.

The group of chemists believe that it can be used to purify methane in natural gas wells and produce clean coal. The clean coal produced can potentially make coal-based energy more efficient by reducing the energy required to reduce CO2 emission and put the energy back to the grid instead. The discovery also addresses the challenge of capturing CO2 before it enters the atmosphere, an activity which consumes 15% of global energy production.

The next step forward will be to collaborate with the engineers to make the ensure that the material is manufacturable and ready for real world uses. Watch the video at MOF Flue

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