photo: Ben Carter
File this one in the maybe someday category: At the national meeting of the American Chemical Society scientists have presented work on the potential of so-called 'dry water' to store gases, with an eye to store carbon emissions as well as act as a fuel carrier. Here's the gist of it: First discovered in 1968, dry water is a powder made up of 95% water particles surrounded by modified silica, which prevents the water droplets from reforming into a liquid. While originally dry water was investigated for use in cosmetics, the most recent research has focused on using it as a storage material.
In laboratory-scale research, [Professor Andrew Cooper, of the University of Liverpool] and co-workers found that dry water absorbed over three times as much carbon dioxide as ordinary, uncombined water and silica in the same space of time. This ability to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide gas as a hydrate could make it useful in helping to reduce global warming, the scientists suggested.
Cooper and colleagues demonstrated in previous studies that dry water is also useful for storing methane, a component of natural gas, and may help expand its use as a future energy source. In particular, they hope that engineers can use the powder to collect and transport stranded deposits of natural gas. This also exists on the ocean floor in the form of gas hydrates, a form of frozen methane also known as the "ice that burns." The powder could also provide a safer, more convenient way to store methane fuel for use in vehicles powered by natural gas. "A great deal of work remains to be done before we could reach that stage," Carter added. (PhysOrg)
Considering the amount of CO2 that would need to be stored from fossil fuel generated electricity, I wouldn't hold out hope that dry water is the answer to all our problems, but it certainly is interesting.
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