New carbon-capturing membranes may reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Current methods for turning trapped CO2 into usable synthetic fuel are energy intensive.

By Brooks Hays

July 24 (UPI) -- Scientists in the Netherlands have developed a promising new membrane material to filter CO2 emissions.

Researchers believe the new ceramic, ion-conduction membrane will help curb greenhouse gas by trapping CO2 and converting it into fuel, though it may not be ready for commercial adoption for a few more years.


Current carbon-capture technologies are rather inefficient and expensive, limiting their commercial appeal. But scientists suggest more efficient energy use and an increase in sustainable energy sources won't be enough to sufficiently curb greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the negative impacts of global warming -- enter carbon-capture technologies.

An essential component of carbon capture is finding a sustainable and energy-efficient use for the captured carbon. Current methods for turning trapped CO2 into usable synthetic fuel are energy intensive.

Researchers at the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands, suggest ceramic membranes can both trap and convert CO2 into synthetic fuel and basic chemicals. Under high temperature and pressure, the membrane encourages chemical reactions among the CO2 trapped in the material.

The research into ceramic membranes is ongoing, but scientists at the University of Twente expect fast-paced progress. Their work is being aided by scientists at the Jülich Research Center, part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


While scientists in the Netherlands are focused on trapping CO2 in the novel membrane material, researchers in Germany are working to ensure the right kinds of chemical reactions are occurring across the membrane.

"Both partners complement each other perfectly," Twente professor Wilhelm Meulenberg said in a news release. "Which is why both institutes will have many exchanges of PhDs and other researchers in the years to come."

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