Study casts doubt on carbon capture

One proposed method for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere – and reducing the risk of climate change – is to capture carbon from the air or prevent it from getting there in the first place. However, research from Mark Z. Jacobson at Stanford University, published in Energy and Environmental Science, suggests that carbon capture technologies can cause more harm than good.

“All sorts of scenarios have been developed under the assumption that carbon capture actually reduces substantial amounts of carbon. However, this research finds that it reduces only a small fraction of carbon emissions, and it usually increases air pollution,” said Jacobson, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Even if you have 100 percent capture from the capture equipment, it is still worse, from a social cost perspective, than replacing a coal or gas plant with a wind farm because carbon capture never reduces air pollution and always has a capture equipment cost. Wind replacing fossil fuels always reduces air pollution and never has a capture equipment cost.”

Jacobson, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, examined public data from a coal with carbon capture electric power plant and a plant that removes carbon from the air directly. In both cases, electricity to run the carbon capture came from natural gas. He calculated the net CO2 reduction and total cost of the carbon capture process in each case, accounting for the electricity needed to run the carbon capture equipment, the combustion and upstream emissions resulting from that electricity, and, in the case of the coal plant, its upstream emissions. (Upstream emissions are emissions, including from leaks and combustion, from mining and transporting a fuel such as coal or natural gas.)

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New Material Captures Carbon Dioxide and Eff…

New Material Captures Carbon Dioxide and Efficiently Converts It to Useful Organic Materials

A new material that can selectively capture carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules and efficiently convert them into useful organic materials has been developed by researchers at Kyoto University, along with colleagues at the University of Tokyo and Jiangsu Normal University in China. They describe the material in the journal Nature Communications.

Human consumption of fossil fuels has resulted in rising global CO2 emissions, leading to serious problems associated with global warming and climate change. One possible way to counteract this is to capture and sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but current methods are highly energy-intensive. The low reactivity of CO2 makes it difficult to capture and convert it efficiently.

“We have successfully designed a porous material which has a high affinity towards CO2 molecules and can quickly and effectively convert it into useful organic materials,” says Ken-ichi Otake, Kyoto University materials chemist from the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS).

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A new concept could make more environmentall…

A new concept could make more environmentally friendly batteries possible

A new concept for an aluminium battery has twice the energy density as previous versions, is made of abundant materials, and could lead to reduced production costs and environmental impact. The idea has potential for large scale applications, including storage of solar and wind energy. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia, are behind the idea.

Using aluminium battery technology could offer several advantages, including a high theoretical energy density, and the fact that there already exists an established industry for its manufacturing and recycling. Compared with today’s lithium-ion batteries, the researchers’ new concept could result in markedly lower production costs.

“The material costs and environmental impacts that we envisage from our new concept are much lower than what we see today, making them feasible for large scale usage, such as solar cell parks, or storage of wind energy, for example,” says Patrik Johansson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.

“Additionally, our new battery concept has twice the energy density compared with the aluminium batteries that are ‘state of the art’ today.”

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Can citric acid be a green alternative to pr…

Can citric acid be a green alternative to protecting steel?

Nitric acid is currently the most widely used passivating solution to protect stainless steel from corrosion in industrial applications. But nitric acid is dangerous in multiple environmental, safety, and processes, due to its highly acidic nature and the toxic fumes, greenhouse gases and hazardous waste it generates. Citric acid is a promising replacement as it can be produced from natural sources, requires lower acid concentrations and doesn’t generate toxic fumes or hazardous waste.

Until now, citric acid has rarely been used in space, and so its performance has not been fully demonstrated.

A TDE activity (T724-403QT) with ESR Technology in the UK wanted to evaluate the suitability of a citric acid process for replacing health hazardous nitric acid processes used for passivating typical stainless steel grades used in spacecraft and ground support structures.

To assess the suitability of citric acid, three stainless steel grades, made from various metallurgical types (austenitic, precipitation-hardened and martensitic) were studied in both welded and non-welded conditions.

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New synthetic polymer degradable under very …

New synthetic polymer degradable under very mild acidic conditions

A research team in Ehime University prepared a new type of synthetic polymer, which can be degraded into a combination of well-defined low molecular weight compounds under very mild acidic conditions. The new polymer, poly(β-keto enol ether), has great potential to be utilized as an environmentally friendly material in the near future.

The research team, led by E. Ihara and H. Shimomoto, has been utilizing unique reactivities of a diazocarbonyl group for polymer synthesis where they have succeeded in preparing a variety of polymers with unprecedented chemical structures by the polymerization of some bis(diazocarbonyl) compounds bearing two diazocarbonyl groups in one molecule. Now they have found that three-component polymerization of an appropriated combination of a bis(diazocarbonyl) compound, bis(1,3-diketone), and tetrahydrofuran (THF) as monomers yields a new type of polymer structure containing the β-keto enol ether framework in the main chain, which has been known to be readily cleaved with a small amount of acid.

The polymerization catalyzed by a Rh catalyst proceeded as they expected, affording poly(β-keto enol ether) with a molecular weight higher than 10000. More importantly, the polymer was found to be cleanly degraded into a combination of two low molecular weight compounds in high yield under mild acidic conditions; one of the degraded products was the monomer itself, bis(1,3-diketone) (indicating recyclability of the monomer), and the other one was a dihydroxy compound derived from the bis (diazocarbonyl) compound and THF used as other monomers.

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How the catalytic converters in cars go bad …

How the catalytic converters in cars go bad and why it matters

Modern cars rely on catalytic converters to remove carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and other harmful chemicals from exhaust emissions.

To do so they rely on costly metals that have special chemical properties that diminish in effectiveness over time. Assistant professor Matteo Cargnello and doctoral candidate Emmett Goodman recently led a team that has proposed a new way to reduce the cost and extend the lifespan of these materials, solving a problem that has vexed automotive engineers for years. In the process, Cargnello and colleagues have done something remarkable: made a breakthrough in a mature field where change comes slowly, if at all.

What about catalytic converters needs to be improved?

A new catalytic converter can cost $1,000 or more, making it among the most expensive individual parts on any car. They are costly because they use expensive metals such as palladium to promote the chemical reactions that cleanse the exhaust. Palladium costs about $50 a gram—more than gold—and each catalytic converter contains about 5 grams of it. Metals like palladium are catalysts—a special class of materials that speed up chemical reactions but don’t chemically change themselves. In theory, catalysts can be used over and over, indefinitely. In practice, however, the performance of catalysts degrades over time. To compensate, we are forced to use more of these expensive metals up front, adding to the cost. Our goal is to better understand the causes of this degradation and how to counteract it.

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janeandersonmapractice: Materiom Talk – Steamh…


Materiom Talk – Steamhouse 10/4/2019

Went along to an incredible talk last night as part of the Maker Assembly at Steamhouse. Zöe Powell from Materiom shared her work on bio materials and how to these materials that nourish local economies and ecologies. Materiom is online platform and a research community that share open resources recipes for bio material made from locally abundant materials and life friendly chemistry.  Life friendly chemistry means it will decompose naturally without any adverse effects to the environment. It was great to how easy some of these recipes are  and touch the materials – most of these can be done in your home with very little equipment. It’s a really exciting time for the creative industries and science working side by side; designers are starting to innovate with bio materials and this transformative approach could be answer to the plundering of scarce natural materials and the human imprint on the planet.

Magnetic ‘springs’ break down ma…

Magnetic ‘springs’ break down marine microplastic pollution

Plastic waste that finds its way into oceans and rivers poses a global environmental threat with damaging health consequences for animals, humans, and ecosystems. Now, using tiny coil-shaped carbon-based magnets, researchers in Australia have developed a new approach to purging water sources of the microplastics that pollute them without harming nearby microorganisms. Their work appears July 31 in the journal Matter.

“Microplastics adsorb organic and metal contaminants as they travel through water and release these hazardous substances into aquatic organisms when eaten, causing them to accumulate all the way up the food chain” says senior author Shaobin Wang, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Adelaide (Australia). “Carbon nanosprings are strong and stable enough to break these microplastics down into compounds that do not pose such a threat to the marine ecosystem.”

Although often invisible to the naked eye, microplastics are ubiquitous pollutants. Some, such as the exfoliating beads found in popular cosmetics, are simply too small to be filtered out during industrial water treatment. Others are produced indirectly, when larger debris like soda bottles or tires weather amid sun and sand.

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