Human Brain Enzyme Used for Carbon Capture

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Now that's using your noggin': Michael Trachtenberg, the founder and CEO of Carbozyme and a former neuroscientist, wants to employ an enzyme commonly found in the brain as the basis for a technology that would remove carbon dioxide from various gas mixtures having energy or environmental significance. Carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that allows the brain to process carbon dioxide, would be used in a scaleable liquid membrane permeator to catalyze the conversion of captured carbon dioxide to bicarbonate ions, which could then easily be disposed or reused in another capacity.

The membrane-based permeator relies on a very energy-efficient gas separation technology that effectively selects against other gases in the feed stream to ensure that only carbon dioxide is captured. It employs no hazardous chemicals and can operate at a moderate temperature and pressure. According to Trachtenberg, the technology could be applied to treat fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas or be used for a variety of other functions listed here.Having just received a generous $7.4 million grant from the Department of Energy, Trachtenberg is pushing ahead with plans to further ameliorate his system by conducting more basic and advanced research on post-combustion carbon capture. He boasts that preliminary results have already demonstrated his permeator system's clear superiority in cost-effectiveness over similar technologies. We'll believe it when we see it.

See also: ::Canadian Company Testing Enzymatic CO2 Capture, ::Branson Offers $25 Million to Remove Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, ::Venting Our (Carbon Dioxide) Problems into Space