A research team from the University of York announced this week that they have devised a creative new means of capturing greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial plants, including power stations.
So-called Starbons are produced from biomass waste such as seaweed and food peel, and they were originally discovered a decade ago by the university's chemistry department. The use of these clean and green items has now been proven to be more efficient, greener and targeted than other existing emission-reduction systems currently available on a commercial basis.
Methods that are widely used at the moment include amine treatment, which uses expensive and energy-intensive liquid solutions for a comparatively low output. Starbons, however, contain synthetic pores, which increase C02 absorption by as much as 65pc. They are also more selective in their CO2 capture when combined with nitrogen, offering four times the selectivity ratio than other existing methods. Starbons are also very quick to absorb CO2 and retain their properties in water.
This means that they are more effective at capturing carbon, sustainable in themselves to produce and cheap to manufacture, offering fantastic potential for meaningful emissions reductions for power plants, manufacturing plants and chemical processing facilities both in Britain and across the world. The development also offers the UK the chance to develop the proposition commercially and become a leader in this particular field whilst offering the government a means of getting closer to EU emissions targets for 2020. With achievement of that target currently looking uncertain, this could be good news for policy-makers indeed.
The head of the university's Chemistry Centre, Professor James Clark, said that Starbons had great potential for low-cost, efficient and sustainable emissions reduction, and he said that the team were working on a commercial development proposition as a next step.