Possible New Catalyst for Methane Capture in Cars and Gas Field

by jim on August 13, 2012

Via Chemical and Engineering News comes word that scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Trieste in Italy have developed a new low-temperature catalyst material that could remove methane emissions form vehicles as well as many different gas and oil field facilities. It would work the same way your car's catalytic converter works now – you force the emissions through a cylinder web or screen coated with a chemical designed to pick up specific molecules.

In the past, this process didn't work with Methane until you reached higher temps than are usually found in a car's engine. The breakthrough being reported solves that problem by allowing the capture of methane to take place at lower temperatures. Still in the testing phase, but we need to be on the lookout for better ways to capture methane pollution, which has been found to be something like 26 times more destructive to climate change per ton as CO2.

"Edman Tsang of Oxford University, an expert on catalysis and clean energy, says: “There is a tremendous need to remove small amounts of methane from the exhausts of gas turbines and internal combustion engines and from flue gases in petrochemical and related industries. The generally low activity of conventional catalysts and their instability at high temperatures” have made it difficult to meet this challenge, whereas the new catalyst makes a first step toward a solution. The approach needs further assessment but provides “a clear direction” for future research, he says."

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