Innovative ‘Carbon Sponge’ efficiently stores and releases coal emissions

coal power plant

While generating energy from renewable sources is definitely the way forward for the world of today, still a majority of electricity consumed all over the world comes from coal-fired power plants. To better the eco credentials of these plants, researcher all over the world are trying hard to come up with ‘clean coal’ technologies that help reduce associated emissions. We recently reported about a research team at Ohio State University, who are experimenting with Coal Direct Chemical Looping technology to reduce emissions by as much as 99 percent, and today we have another research for the same cause, coming from researchers at Australia’s Monash University.

The research team here has come up with an innovative way to efficiently store CO2 released as a result of burning coal, which can then be recycled or converted into a comparatively harmless form. The material developed by the team, which they call “Carbon Sponge”, is a metal organic framework, or MOF. MOF is two or three dimensional crystalline compounds that are made of clusters of metal atoms linked by organic molecules.

MOFs offer large internal surface area for their size, making them ideal candidates for storing large amount of gases such as carbon dioxide. The material developed by the researchers at Monash is made using light-sensitive azobenzene molecules, which results in the MOF being able to absorb large qualities of CO2, but when irradiated by sunlight, it changes its shape and releases the stored gas. Gizmag states that when this happens, the released CO2 can be used to produce energy or can be converted into a harmless mineral.

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