Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Grabbing CO2

PostedMay 7, 2019

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Lede: It may be too late to prevent climate change by simply reducing carbon dioxide emissions. So researchers are working on ways to grab C-O-2 that’s already in the air.

Randy Atkins: Carbon dioxide can be chemically captured from air but, problem is, lots of heat energy – and thus more carbon emissions – has been needed to release it for long-term storage deep underground. But in new research…

Radu Custelcean: …we already demonstrated with the current results that we can release the CO2 at temperatures about ten times lower than with one of the current technologies.

Randy Atkins: Just about the boiling point of water says Radu Custelcean, a scientist at Oak Ridge National Lab. Releasing the CO2 from the chemical sorbents that snatch it is critical.

Radu Custelcean: There’s not enough sorbent in the world to capture the billions of tons of CO2 that are required to make an impact on climate. So, without recycling your sorbent, basically you’ll run out pretty quickly.

Randy Atkins: Custelcean says the sorbents they’ve engineered are environmentally-friendly and CO2 could be blown toward them by systems of fans scattered around the world. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.