Porous Material Captures Carbon Dioxide at Natural Gas Wellheads
A porous material invented in the lab of Rice University chemist James Tour sequesters carbon dioxide at ambient temperature with pressure provided by a natural gas wellhead and lets it go once the pressure is released. The material, a nanoporous solid of carbon with nitrogen or sulfur, is inexpensive and simple to produce compared with the liquid amine-based scrubbers used now, Tour said. His lab, with assistance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), produced the patented material that pulls only carbon dioxide molecules from flowing natural gas and polymerizes them while under pressure naturally provided by the well. When the pressure is released, the carbon dioxide spontaneously depolymerizes and frees the sorbent material to collect more.