Competition for the market leader Climeworks

Climeworks in Zurich, the world’s most successful manufacturer of systems that generate carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, there will be competition, of all places in your own country. At the engineering school of the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich and Winterthur, a material has been developed that fishes CO2 out of the air in a more energy-efficient manner than that used by Climeworks. At a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, the carbon dioxide that the material has absorbed like a sponge is released again so that it can be captured and recycled or disposed of. The Climeworks sponge only releases the climate gas at a temperature of 100 degrees.

Image: ZHAW

A weaker bond allows the temperature to drop

The sponge is a hybrid material made of polyethyleneimine, a special plastic, and an ionic liquid, which are salts that are liquid at room temperature. The developers call this material, which looks similar to chalk, IMPE-Cap – IMPE stands for ZHAW Institute of Materials and Process Engineering. It does have an attractive effect on CO2, but the bond is weaker than with comparable absorbers, so that a low temperature is enough to loosen it.

Suitable for industry and power plants

“The energy-saving potential in this process is great and has so far been underestimated,” says ZHAW researcher Nobutaka Maeda. IMPE-Cap has the potential for industrial applications to save energy and reduce operating costs for the CO2-Lower deposition from the atmosphere or from exhaust gases from power plants and factories. Incidentally, the application horizon of these filtered molecules is broad: a lot is possible, from the production of plant fertilizers to coolants and synthetic fuels.

From CO2 becomes solid rock

Or it is disposed of and completely removed from the atmosphere. The greenhouse gas normally disappears in deep geological formations in which natural gas or oil was previously stored. It is even safer to use the CO2 to be dissolved in water and pressed into porous basalt formations. There the greenhouse gas is transformed into solid rock (carbonate) within a few months. This became evident a few years ago during a pilot test at the Reykjavik Energy Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in Iceland.

via ZHAW

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