Scientists working at Tuskegee University have found a bio-based material that shows promise for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — a more immediate solution to climate change than revamping land and forestry usage or geo-engineering.
Dr. Michael Curry, an assistant professor of chemistry, and engineering doctoral student Donald White are working in a National Science Foundation-funded project with nanocellulose derived from agriculture waste products.
“Nanocellulose is a natural material that can be found in abundance on this planet,” says Curry. “Using this material to develop new technologies for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide will only push the boundaries of science toward the development of new systems that promote a cleaner and cooler atmosphere.”
Curry and White’s process uses “naturally occurring plant-based materials as filters to remove dangerous carbon dioxide build up in the atmosphere,” the university reports.
Noting that carbon dioxide levels have risen dramatically ever since the Industrial Revolution, Curry links that rise to increasing global temperatures and the frequency of extreme weather events.
“We made this problem,” Curry says, “but by developing and employing the appropriate technology to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we can also make a better, healthier plant for centuries to come.”