Transforming carbon dioxide?

Scientists are looking at new ways to capture and transform carbon dioxide.

Updated: May 14, 2011, 13:03 PM IST

Washington: Scientists are looking at new ways to capture and transform carbon dioxide, the gas at the centre of the greenhouse discussion.

An international team will, in fact, explore how smart materials, called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can be used to capture and concentrate carbon dioxide (CO2) with minimum energy requirements.

Team leader Prof Cameron Kepert of the University of Sydney says these materials are capable of absorbing large amounts of CO2 into nanometre-sized holes within their structures, leading potentially to the efficient separation of this gas from power station flue gases.

"On an international scale, the project mounts one of the most comprehensive investigations into this promising new area by combining world leading expertise in both chemistry and engineering," said Dr Kepert.

The team will also look at how MOFs can be used to convert CO2 into useful substances, including feedstocks for agriculture, hydrocarbon fuels and precursors to complex metal
oxides for use in solar cells.

According to team member Dr Matthew Hill from CSIRO, the team will incorporate the new materials into pilot-scale testing. "We will be working closely in collaboration with the CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies and with Industry to both design and test our processes," he said.