As our knowledge of chemistry continues to advance, we keep finding new ways to apply the same basic elements. Finding a green process that is better than conventional means just makes it even better.
Thanks to a $420,000 grand from the Us Department of Energy’s division of Basic Energy Sciences, researchers at the University of Connecticut (UConn) have been working, for the last three years, at developing new nanoporous materials with a new green process. Nanoporous materials are finding application in such green fields as hydrogen fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, water purification systems, which makes them very much in-demand.
UConn researchers were working on making the nanoporous material more uniform, and ended up developing a green chemical process that worked better than the previous water-based process. The new green process uses a synthetic chemical surfactant to create the same nanoporous material, but with far greater control over pore size and distribution. Additionally, the new process is completely recyclable, resulting in little to no waste material.
The new green process, UConn researchers found, could be applied to a wide variety of elements, both as oxides and sulfides, creating multiple families of nanoporous materials. The new process results in stronger filtering mediums and better control over size and distribution of the pores. The new materials can be tailor-made for compatibility with specific chemicals, enzymes, gases, or liquids, depending on application.
Image © University of Connecticut