A new CO2-adsorbing material based on cerium oxide has been created by Hitachi. It has been designed to capture the CO2 produced by coal-fired plants and the company says it’s 13 times more efficient than old zeolitic solid adsorbents.
Because old materials adsorb moisture existing in the gas, they’re not very good at separating CO2 from the rest. On the other hand, the new cerium oxide formula adsorbs CO2 even in the presence of moisture.
Hitachi used an exhaust purification catalyst technology to improve the quantity of CO2 adsorbed in the material. This technology has a component that attracts carbon dioxide to the surface or the material to further increase the efficiency.
They also created hollow structures in the adsorbent material by forming pillar-shaped fine pores on cerium oxide, which results in the CO2 molecules dispersing inside those pores, thus increasing the surface area.
Collecting CO2 becomes more and more important these days as new emerging technologies can actually produce high alcohols and even gasoline from CO2 and solar power (electricity). This can give a totally new meaning to the all-feared greenhouse gas, as it could eventually be used as an energy carrier for the hydrogen atoms readily available in every water drop.