Navigation Links
Collecting carbon in a concrete jungle

Land unsuitable for tree planting could still be used to reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere thanks to new research.

Microscopic tubes that suck in carbon dioxide from the air are being developed by chemists, engineers and medical researchers at the University of Edinburgh, with funding from the RCUK Energy Programme, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Just one 1m2 unit containing the tiny tubes could adsorb (suck in) the same amount of carbon as 10 average trees.

In the future larger versions of the units could be placed alongside places like motorways or on rooftops to make better use of land and spaces in reducing our carbon footprint.

If the technical hurdles are successfully overcome, a patentable unit could be developed and available for purchase within five years.

Each individual tube will be around 1 micrometre long and just 1 nanometre in diameter (1 micrometre is 1 millionth of a metre, 1 nanometre is 1 billionth of a metre). They will be made of pure carbon with some additional chemical groups that will attract and trap the carbon dioxide.

Once saturated with carbon 'used' tubes will be regenerated by a rapid heat pulse generated from a renewable energy source, such as a solar cell, and the carbon dioxide will be concentrated and stored in small canisters. These canisters may be exchanged periodically for fresh ones as part of a regular collection round.

"The tube material will be specially designed at the nanoscale to be highly porous, in order to adsorb as much carbon dioxide as possible," says Professor Eleanor Campbell, who is leading the project. "A key task is to engineer the chemistry of the tubes so that they only adsorb carbon dioxide without taking water vapour, for instance, out of the air as well."

The filled carbon dioxide canisters could be transported to a special facility where the carbon can be collected prior to secure disposal deep underground using carbon capture and storage technology, the development of which the University is also prominently involved with through the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) consortium. Alternatively, the carbon dioxide could be converted into added-value chemicals using novel catalytic reactions that are currently being developed at the university and elsewhere.

The project team will look at a whole range of issues, such as a unit's potential purchase price, its appearance and its optimum dimensions.

The views of the public were canvassed at an event which took place on 5 November 2011 in Edinburgh.

"In some ways, the unit would work like an artificial tree," says Professor Campbell. "A key advantage of course is that the units could be used in built-up urban areas where tree planting is not possible."


Contact: EPSRC Press Office
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Related biology news :

1. New guidance issued for first responders collecting suspected biothreat agents
2. Carbon nanostructures form the future of electronics and optoelectronics
3. Growth in the global carbon budget
4. Carbon sinks: Issues, markets, policy
5. Carbon dioxide scrubber captures greenhouse gases
6. UNC study on properties of carbon nanotubes, water could have wide-ranging implications
7. Study: Tropical wetlands hold more carbon than temperate marshes
8. Diatom genome helps explain success in trapping excess carbon in oceans
9. Earthworm activity can alter forests carbon-carrying capabilities
10. Global warming predicted to hasten carbon release from peat bogs
11. Revised theory suggests carbon dioxide levels already in danger zone
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging ... product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo ... ... ... News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition ... harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams ... New York City . The ... projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong ... senior curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne ...
Breaking Biology Technology: