Quirks & Quarks

Carbon Capture with Tiny Bubbles

Tiny silicone spheres containing baking soda may be the secret to removing CO2 from smokestacks.
Silicone rubber microcapsules containing sodium carbonate solution during carbon dioxide absorption testing. (John Vericella/LLNL)
Carbon capture and storage could be one of the solutions to our fossil fuel greenhouse gas problems. Absorbing CO2 from smokestacks and burying it underground is feasible, but it's expensive and difficult, largely due to the carbon capture process, which uses caustic chemicals and consumes a lot of energy.

Dr. Roger Aines, leader of the Carbon Management programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, and his colleagues, have developed a new carbon capture technique using tiny silicone bubbles, filled with what is essentially baking soda.

These "microcapsules" are easy to handle, recyclable, and should be a much more energy efficient way to scrub carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power plants.

Related Links

- Paper in Nature Communications
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory release
- Harvard release
Discovery News story