UK and Chinese Scientists Develop 'Cage of Cages' Polymer to Capture Greenhouse Gases

Researchers from the UK and China have discovered a new porous polymer material, dubbed a "cage of cages," that can capture carbon dioxide and other potent greenhouse gases. The material boasts a unique molecular structure and excellent stability in water, making it suitable for industrial use.

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Bijay Laxmi
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UK and Chinese Scientists Develop 'Cage of Cages' Polymer to Capture Greenhouse Gases

UK and Chinese Scientists Develop 'Cage of Cages' Polymer to Capture Greenhouse Gases

In a major breakthrough in the fight against climate change, researchers from the UK and China have discover, new porous polymer material, dubbed a "cage of cages," that can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) and other potent greenhouse gases. The material, described in the journal Nature Synthesis, boasts a unique molecular structure comprised of triangular prism building blocks assembled into larger, symmetrical tetrahedral cages.

The "cage of cages" material possesses several key features that make it a promising tool in combating climate change. Its abundance of polar molecules enables it to attract and hold greenhouse gases with strong affinity. Notably, the material demonstrates excellentstability inwater, making it suitable for use in industrial settings to capture carbon from wet or humid gas streams.

Why this matters: The development of effective materials to capture and remove greenhouse gases is crucial in the fight against climate change, as it can significantly reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and help achieve zero emissions. This breakthrough has the potential to make a significant impact on the global effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.

"We need new porous materials to help solve society's biggest challenges, like capturing and storing greenhouse gases,"says Marc Little,discover, firstmaterials scientist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and senior author of the paper. "This is an exciting discovery."

The novel material showed high absorption of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), the most powerful greenhouse gas according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in lab testing. SF6 has a decay period of 800 to 3,200 years, emphasizing the urgent need for effective removal methods. In addition to greenhouse gases, the "cage of cages" polymer can also remove toxic fumes, such as volatile organic compounds, from the air.

The development of this innovative material comes at a critical time in the fight against climate change. Approximately 20 billion tons of CO2 per year need to be removed from the atmosphere to achieve zero emissions, but currently, only 2 billion tons are being removed annually, mainly by trees and soil. CO2 lingers in the air for 5 to 200 years, underscoring the importance of finding effective removal methods.

The "cage of cages" porous polymer represents a significant step forward in the search for climate change and pollution-fighting materials. Its unique molecular structure and ability to capture greenhouse gases and toxic fumes make it a promising tool in the urgent quest to mitigate the effects of climate change. As researchers continue to explore the full potential of this groundbreaking material, it offers hope in the global effort to create a more sustainable future.