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May 7th, 2008
As much as we reduce our current output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it has become apparent that these efforts, while absolutely needed, will only mitigate the effects of global warming, making carbon sequestration as necessary tool in our fight against climate change.
Unfortunately, many popular ideas on how exactly to sequester the CO2 are simply not practical, though some new ones are quite promising. A new team of French researchers, led by Gérard Férey at the University of Versailles, have decided to skip the pumping of CO2 underground, and focus their efforts on nanotechnology, breaking a record in the process. Their new material, dubbed MIL-101, has been officially called "the best carbon sequestration material" bar none. 1m3 is capable of holding 400m3 of gas, compared to the 200m3 that the best commercially available technology can provide.
MIL-101, also known as chromium terephthalate, can accomplish this because its structure is only 2.9 to 3.4 nanometers thick, giving the substance a surface area of over 6000m2 per single gram. The structure is also porous, which allows the small CO2 molecules to become trapped, making it ideal for carbon capture directly from power plants, tailpipes, and smokestacks. The technology also holds great promise for the storage of methane and hydrogen gas, making it a possible candidate for fuel storage in fuel-cell powered vehicles.
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