Scrubbing carbon dioxide from smokestacks for cleaner industrial emissions


Scientists in Spain used data mining as a springboard for diving into a key challenge: dealing with the water portion of smokestack gases that greatly complicates removing the CO2.

The data mining involved hundreds of thousands of nanomaterials known as metal organic frameworks, usually abbreviated to MOFs. MOFs hold the potential to intercept, through adsorption, CO2 molecules as the flue gases make their way out of the smokestack.

Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain carbon that plants pulled out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis over millions of years. That same carbon is now being returned to the atmosphere in a matter of hundreds of years because fossil fuels are being burned for energy, including by factories and other large-scale industrial facilities.

The annual rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past six decades is roughly 100 times faster than increases resulting from natural causes, such as those that happened following the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago, according to NOAA.

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Journal of Organic Chemistry: Current Research
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