Scientist from University of Kansas have found a new technology to suck carbon monoxide from industrial chimneys. They have discovered a new application of BIGs (bis imino guanidines) chemicals. These chemicals allow scuba divers to “rebreathe” CO2 exhalations.
According to Kristin Bowman-James, one of the researcher, the technology has tremendous potential. As BIGs were discovered 10 years ago, their application still continues to evolve. During the experiment, these chemicals were proven really effective at binding to negative ions. This ability makes them ideal for capturing CO2 emissions.
During their experiment, the researchers dissolved a BIG in water. The substance was noted to break down H2O molecules into positive protons (H+) and negative hydroxide (OH–) ion particles. Later, BIGs reacted with (HCO3–) or negative bicarbonate particles to produce bubbles full of CO2. As the bubble solution does not dissolve easily, its crystal form is easy to separate from the solution.
BIG chemicals offer several benefits to the industry
These crystals can later be heated to minimize CO2 emission, by collecting it and storing it. Crystals can form at 120°C, a relatively low temperature. This research has many potential benefits for the industry and for the environment.
Researchers reported in Chem that this technology requires 24% less energy as compared to conventional methods. Additionally, the method also enables the capture of larger volumes of CO2. The particular variety of BIG used in the experiment is also easy to recover.
During 2017, United Stated total carbon emission reached 1.2 billion metric tons. Although, large volumes of BIGs would be needed to control the current emission levels. The substance can be purchased for as little as 3$ per kilogram.