News of the WeekChemistry

Catalyst Offers New Hope for Capturing CO2 on the Cheap

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Science  15 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5963, pp. 257
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5963.257-a

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Technology using chemicals that bind carbon dioxide already exists, but it's so expensive that using it on a large scale to suck CO2 out of the air could increase energy demand—and the cost of energy—by at least one-third. On page 313 of this week's issue of Science, however, researchers in the Netherlands report a new copper-based catalyst that can capture CO2, convert it to a different form, and then release it with a small fraction of the energy other techniques require. The new method targets the step that so far has proved to be the Achilles' heel of air capture: prying the trapped CO2 loose so the capture compound can be used again.