Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Carbon Useful

PostedJuly 17, 2016

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Anchor Lede: Slowing climate change may require reusing carbon dioxide waste. But how?

Randy Atkins: Carbon dioxide is being taken from the air in Chris Chang’s lab at the University of California. It passes through tinker toy-shaped molecules he’s engineered. They’re decorated with catalysts that help break C-O-2 bonds allowing use of…  

Chris Chang: …carbon dioxide as one carbon building block to stitch together many different types of molecules.

Randy Atkins: The possibilities are diverse.

Chris Chang: We’ve been interested in using it to make food, different types of biodegradable materials, pharmaceuticals, as well as next generation fuels.

Randy Atkins: Chang thinks it will be most effective in large numbers of small solar-powered household devices. For example…

Chris Chang: You can imagine having a widget that’s about the size of a toaster that you could capture carbon dioxide, transform it and then generate something that you could use to heat your home, heat your food on the stove…

Randy Atkins: …and disconnect from the natural gas grid. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.