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Two tiny molecular layers in a liquid that traps carbon dioxide constantly swap places, influencing how much of the greenhouse gas is absorbed, according to scientists at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, and Louisiana Tech University.
The scientists made this discovery after building a computational model and studying the carbon capture liquid, known as BMIMF4.
Burning coal in power plants and industrial uses of fossil fuels generate significant amounts of carbon dioxide. Scientists and industry leaders want to remove carbon dioxide from emissions, preventing its access to the environment. One option is to pump the gaseous emissions through a liquid that traps only carbon dioxide, and not other gases. The study provides insights into the nanostructure of BMIMF4's surface.
"The surface is of particular interest because that's where carbon dioxide first encounters the charged, carbon capture liquid," said Dr. Liem Dang, a theoretical chemist at PNNL. DOE's Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, PNNL's Energy Conversion Initiative and Laboratory Directed Research and Development, and the Louisiana Board of Regents Research Competitiveness Subprogram funded this work.
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