"Crispy Noodles" Membrane Could Help Store Hydrogen and Reduce Carbon Emissions

crispy noodles

It sounds tasty, but what "crispy noodles" is referring to here is (unfortunately) not a delicious dish -- but a new material that could both help cut carbon dioxide emissions and power the next generation of hydrogen vehicles. Developed by a team of chemists at the University of Manchester, this polymer, whose structure resembles that of crispy noodles, is currently being explored as a potential sequestration device to be installed on coal-fired power plants.

The £150,000 18-month study, led by materials chemist Peter Budd of the university's Organic Materials Innovation Center (OMIC), will investigate the use of this "polymer of intrinsic microporosity" (or PIM, for short) as part of a catalytic membrane system to trap and recover carbon dioxide -- a scheme similar to other membrane technologies we've covered in the past.What is interesting about this project is that it could eventually lead to the use of PIMs as a medium for the safe storage and transportation of hydrogen -- which would bring us much closer to the much-ballyhooed "hydrogen economy". Polymers hadn't received much attention beforehand because they were viewed as being incapable of packing space efficiently, a necessary pre-requisite for storing hydrogen.

Because Budd's PIMS have high microporosity, however, they could provide a cheap, convenient means of storing the gas. Initial tests have been encouraging, with PIMs capturing significant amounts of hydrogen -- around 3% of their weight. Budd and his colleagues hope to double that figure in the coming years.

Getting it to 6% could be enough for a car to run 300 miles without a refill, Budd says.

Via ::ScienceDaily: 'Crispy Noodle' Chemistry Could Reduce Carbon Emissions (news website)

See also: ::Modified Plastic Membrane Helps Strip Carbon Dioxide from Natural Gas, ::A Step Closer to a Zero Emission Car?