A team of researchers have discovered a way to make use of everyday baking soda as a means of capturing carbon dioxide.
“The group, from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, developed a new carbon capture media comprised of core-shell microcapsules”, writes Value Walk.
Core-shell microcapsules have an extremely permeable shell of polymer consisting of sodium carbonate solution, that absorbs and reacts with carbon dioxide.
The reaction ends with carbon dioxide passing through the shell, but holds the liquid inside the shell.
Microcapsules similar to this are used in controlled delivery and release of food flavoring and pharmaceuticals, but the technology hasn’t been employed in the capture of carbon dioxide.
In theory, this innovation could eventually be used to prevent carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning power plants being released into the atmosphere.
The use of carbonates is much preferred as they do not pose an environmental threat.
Although some caustic fluids are already used in the process of carbon capture, such as monoethanol amine, they pose an environmental risk.
“As the fluid is not able to escape the shell, as it is encapsulated – it will not come into contact with equipment, and the carbonate does not react with other gases as more caustic absorbents do”, writes Value Walk.
Despite the fact that the increased surface of the capsules can absorb much higher levels of carbon dioxide, but a new kind of capture process is still needed.
Scientists at the National energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are currently working on a process to work with coal or natural gas-burning power plants as well as in industrial processes such as steel and cement production.
Use of sodium carbonate doesn’t call for any complex chemical process compared to the production of amines, and also there are no recycling issues faced.
Baking soda can be reused indefinitely – but amines degrade over time.