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Green sink: molecular sponge to soak up CO2 


Crystals full of minute hole can retain gas

Australian scientists are working to develop “molecular sponges” that they hope will soak up carbon gases and help in the fight to contain greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.

Researchers at Sydney University have produced crystals full of minute holes which can retain gases such as carbon dioxide, and which they hope could be used in places where these gases are produced, such as power stations. “You could think of them a little bit like your kitchen sponge,” lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow Deanna D’Alessandra told ABC(Australian broadcasting  corporation) Radio.

The chemical frame works are full of so many tiny holes or pores that they have a far greater surface area than would be expected from their size, she said. “So if you thought of all of the area inside of the little pores of the sponge, then in fact it would add up to an incredible amount.

“So in fact if you took a tea spoon of one of the best materials we have at the moment, then it would actually have a surface area of about a rugby field, which is pretty amazing,” she said. The process of soaking the “molecular sponges” with CO2 could also be reversible, allowing the gas to be released under certain conditions. Thy are not yet ready for commercial adaptation.

Catching Carbon: Deanna D’Alessandro of the University of Sydney
displays highly porous three  dimensional solids that can filter and capture
gases such CO2 (Inset) 3D structure of the sponges


Source: The Times of India, September 14, 2010.



ENVIS CENTRE Newsletter Vol.8,Issues 3 & 4, Jul & Oct 2010  
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