A sugar-resembling substance that can absorb carbon dioxide within itself has been developed by a team led by Andrew Cooper, from the University of Liverpool, in the UK. The substance is called “dry water”, because it’s made of water and because it’s dry, containing silica.
A water droplet, which constitutes 95 percent of the particles, is surrounded by a modified version of silica, that resembles beach sand. The silica has the role of preventing the water droplets to combine and turn into a liquid. That’s why it’s called “dry water’.
Discovered in 1068, dry water was used at first in the cosmetics industry and then, in 2006, it was restudied by Cooper’s group for other potential applications. The find powder can retain gases by combining them with the water molecules to form a hydrate.
Carbon dioxide can be stored this way just like hydrogen and methane. This can be compared to the phenomenon of “burning ice”, in which methane is trapped the same way in hydrates and then slowly released.