Humidity Is Bad For Hair But Good For Carbon Capture

March 15, 2024
Researchers found a way to capture and release carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by simply changing the surrounding humidity.

Researchers at Princeton have developed a material capable of capturing and releasing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using humidity fluctuations, a process significantly more energy-efficient than traditional methods, according to a March 14 news release. The material, based on modified ion-exchange resin, operates by adsorbing CO2 in low humidity and releasing it in high humidity. The Princeton team's research, published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, showcases the potential of leveraging humidity for carbon capture, presenting a more sustainable and cost-effective solution. By incorporating basic ions into the resin's pores, the researchers achieved optimal carbon capture capacity. They also found that larger pores enhance capture rates, crucial for scaling up the technology. Additionally, the material's low energy requirements and inexpensive components make it a promising candidate for large-scale implementation. The technology could capitalize on natural humidity fluctuations, offering energy-efficient operation in environments with varying moisture levels. 

“The fundamental science could apply to a number of different separations problems in the chemical industry,” said Kelsey Hatzell, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton. Her lab is where this research is being developed. “The work is ultimately about tuning the chemistry of a material to reduce the energy you need for a given process, and that kind of information has a very broad appeal.”

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