Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said a photosensitive metal organic framework -- or MOF, a class of materials known for their exceptional capacity to store gases -- could be a powerful and inexpensive new tool to capture and store, or potentially recycle, carbon dioxide.
Sunlight would release the stored carbon, researchers said, overcoming problems with current, energy-intensive methods of carbon capture where liquid capture materials have to be heated in a prolonged process to release the carbon dioxide for storage.
"The MOF can release the adsorbed carbon dioxide when irradiated with light found in sunlight, just like wringing out a sponge," Monash doctoral student Richelle Lyndon said.
The technology, known as dynamic photo-switching, was accomplished using light-sensitive azobenzene molecules, she said.
"The MOF we discovered had a particular affinity for carbon dioxide. However, the light responsive molecules could potentially be combined with other MOFs, making the capture and release technology appropriate for other gases," she said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]