A recent UN report found that to prevent catastrophic climate change, humans won't just need to drastically cut emissions in just a few short years. They'll also need to generate power from wind and solar, plus they will need to upgrade remaining gas- and coal-fired power plants with carbon capture technology (a means of trapping carbon pollution from power plants and storing it underground). But carbon capture has its drawbacks. The equipment is costly and the process requires a lot of energy.
Chemical engineer Zhongwei Chen has developed an alternative, one that could make it more affordable for coal- and gas-fired power plants to clean up their mess.
Chen, a professor at the University of Waterloo, created a powder that can soak up carbon dioxide before it is expelled into the air, which he says is vastly more efficient than conventional carbon capture methods. He says it can be used at power plants, factories, and other facilities that burn coal. “This technology is designed to be a real solution to a real problem the world is facing right now,” Chen says. “If this technology can help us do better while we find and adopt new, reliable energy sources, that’s positive.” His study describing the technique appears in the journal Carbon.