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Hair Conditioning Shampoo Component Captures 90% of Coal Plants' CO2

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Robert Perry, one of the involved researchers

Aminosilicones are regularly used in hair-conditioning shampoos and fabric softeners, but recently they show usefulness in fighting global warming by filtering carbon dioxide out of flue gases from coal plants.

The discovery has been reported at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Francisco.

The material can remove about 90 percent of the CO2 from a lab-simulated flue gas, and may be cheaper and more efficient than current CO2-reducing technologies.

Coal-burning plants are a major source of CO2 globally, with an estimated 2.8 billion tons entering the atmosphere each year from the 8,000 coal-fired plants in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, there are about 50,000 coal-fired generating stations.

“We’re very excited about this technology that may pave the way for a new process for carbon dioxide capture,” Perry said. He is with GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y. “The development of a low-cost solution for CO2 capture would go a long way in helping to address our clean energy goals. In the future, the gases that come out of power-plant smokestacks will be virtually free of carbon dioxide emissions.”

After trapping it into the aminosilicone, the captured CO2 would be transferred to a desorption unit, where it would be removed from the aminosilicone and sequestered. But that’s another story.

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