Sunday, March 02, 2008

Will we be able to use Carbon without CO2?

Georgia Tech scientists have developed a new material that, combined with the right process, could become the cheapest way to separate the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, out of coal plants' smokestacks.

"It's pretty easy and cheap to make and it's got a high capacity for CO2 under realistic conditions," said Chris Jones, a chemical engineer at Georgia Tech.

Those conditions require a material that can trap CO2 out of a mixture of water vapor, nitrogen, and oxygen (among other things), and then release that carbon dioxide on-demand. Being able to do that cheaply remains a dream, and one that some say will always remain "vaporware."

But scientists are pushing on with the effort to develop the right systems to make coal plants outfitted with carbon capture and sequestration cost-competitive with other future power solutions like solar concentrating plants.

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