Can nanomaterials be used to reduce CO2 emissions?

  • By Mounir Wadoud
    • Oct 31, 2023
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Nanomaterials, which are composed of units hundreds of times smaller than the thickness of a human hair, were initially investigated for uses in microscopy and computing and are now showing promise for combating threats to the sustainability of our world. Removing CO2 from the atmosphere and transforming it into useful products is a problem that many research groups are attempting to solve because, if successful, it could be the key to halting climate change.  And, because of their high surface-to-volume ratio for interacting with CO2 and their ability to facilitate the conversion of CO2 into other things, nanomaterials present a promising solution to this problem.

Are Nanomaterials the Solution to Climate Change?

Unfortunately, to make nanomaterials economically viable is a real challenge; Researchers have experimented with everything from metallic to carbon-based nanoparticles to render them cost-effective in order to entirely replace current technologies and reduce CO2 emissions.

The work of researchers at the Lille University of Science and Technology in France is one of the most recent examples of advancement in this field. The scientists created a nanoCO2 harvester that transforms atmospheric CO2 into methanol using water and sunlight. Methanol can be used as an engine fuel, solvent, antifreeze, and ethanol diluent. According to researchers involved in this study, the material is made by wrapping a layer of modified graphene oxide around spheres of copper zinc oxide and magnetite. It has the appearance of a miniature golf ball, capturing CO2 more effectively than conventional catalysts, and is easily recyclable.

nanomaterials

The study indicates that the conversion is more effective because the nanoCO2 harvester has a large molecular surface area and captures more CO2 than conventional catalysts with a similar surface area. However, because of their small size, nanoparticles have a propensity to clump together, rendering them inactive over time. The study also showed that it is difficult to produce particles of a consistent size, which makes it difficult to synthesize useful nanoparticle-based materials. According to the scientists, such materials’ efficiency can be further increased, offering hope for future applications.

To conclude, while nanoparticles have the potential to help with environmental issues, their small size also raises worries about the health and capacity to persist in the environment as the use of nanomaterials has not yet been investigated for its long-term implications.

Companies that are innovating in this sector are likely to be eligible for several funding programs including government grants, and SR&ED.

Want to learn about funding opportunities for your project? Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts today!

Sources:

https://cprimestudios.com/blog/how-3d-printing-used-automotive-industry

https://envirobites.org/2019/01/21/can-nanoparticles-help-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-dairy-manure/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130709115024.htm

https://phys.org/news/2013-07-nanomaterial-co2-emissions.html

Author

Mounir Wadoud
Mounir Wadoud

Innovation Funding Consultant

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