How does the technology that can remove methane from the air work?

More than half of methane is emitted from human sources.  This greenhouse gas is up to 85 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (EFE/Friedman Vogel)
More than half of methane is emitted from human sources. This greenhouse gas is up to 85 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (EFE/Friedman Vogel)

despite of Urgent needvery few methods can do that Efficiently remove methane from exhaust air At low cost and low energy per unit volume, especially at the low concentrations found in emissions from wastewater treatment, livestock production, biogas production, and mine ventilation.

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen used it Light and chlorine To eliminate methane gas in low concentrations from the air. The result significantly brings the possibility of eliminating greenhouse gases from livestock housing, biogas production plants and wastewater treatment plants in the country. Climate benefit. The research has just been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has determined that reducing methane emissions will immediately control climate change Global temperatures rise. Methane is Greenhouse gases Up to 85 times stronger than he CO2, More than half comes from human resources, With livestock production and fossil fuels being the largest generators.

Livestock production is one of the largest sources of methane emissions (Getty)
Livestock production is one of the largest sources of methane emissions (Getty)

A new and unique method developed by a research team from the Department of Chemistry at the University of… University of Copenhagen The spin-off company Ambient Carbon has achieved Removing methane from the airAccording to a press release issued by the Danish Higher Education House.

A large portion of our methane emissions come from millions of low-concentration sources, such as cattle and hog barns. In practice, it has been impossible to concentrate or remove methane from these sources. But the new result shows that it is possible to use the reaction chamber built by specialists.

Previously, specialists had already presented the research results at COP 28 in Dubai via an online connection and in Washington, D.C. at the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the US government on science and technology.

Low concentration methane sources can be treated, but with high energy consumption and high cost (EFE/Archivo/Diego Azubel)
Low concentration methane sources can be treated, but with high energy consumption and high cost (EFE/Archivo/Diego Azubel)

This gas can be burned from the air if its concentration exceeds 4%. But most human-caused emissions are less than 0.1 percent.

To remove methane from the air, researchers built a reaction chamber that looks like an elongated metal box with many hoses and measuring instruments. Inside there is a Chain reaction A chemical compound that eventually breaks down methane and removes much of the gas from the air.

In a scientific study, specialists proved that the reaction chamber It can remove 58% of methane from the air. Since submitting the study, they have improved their results in the laboratory until they now achieve it Percent efficiency.

Methane plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric redox capacity and the composition of air pollution (AP Photo/Olivia Zhang, file)
Methane plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric redox capacity and the composition of air pollution (AP Photo/Olivia Zhang, file)

he Chlorine It’s the key to discovery. By using it in combination with light energy, researchers can remove methane from the air much more efficiently than from the atmosphere, where the process usually takes between 10 and 12 years old.

This gas decomposes very slowly because it is not friendly to interact with other compounds present in the atmosphere. However, specialists discovered that with the help of light and chlorine the reaction can be catalyzed and methane decomposed virtually 100 million times faster than in nature.

Scientists are close to receiving a 12-metre container at the Department of Chemistry and when that happens, it will become the largest modular reaction chamber researchers have ever built in the lab. It would be a methane cleaner that could, in principle, be connected to a livestock barn ventilation system.

A large amount of this greenhouse gas emissions come from the agricultural sector (about 40%) (illustration)
A large amount of this greenhouse gas emissions come from the agricultural sector (about 40%) (illustration)

These types of farms are facilities high technology Where ammonia is actually removed from the air. As such, doing the same with methane through existing air filtration systems is an obvious solution. The same is true for biogas and wastewater treatment plants, which are the largest sources of human-caused methane emissions after livestock production.

As preliminary research for this study, scientists traveled throughout Denmark to measure the amount of methane leaking from livestock barns, wastewater treatment plants, and biogas plants. They were able to document this in several places free a A large amount of gas in the atmosphere.

This research was carried out in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Aarhus University, Arla, Skov and the UCPH spin-off company Ambient Carbon, which was set up to develop the MEPS (Methane Ablation Photochemical System) technology. It is available to the community.

*The information in this journal article is taken from the paper “High-efficiency gas-phase photoreactor for methane elimination from low-concentration sources,” published in the journal Environmental Research LettersWritten by: Morten Krugsbühl, Hugo S. Russell, and Matthew S. Johnson. In addition to the press release issued by University of Copenhagen.

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