(PRBuzz.com) May 23, 2012 -- Imagine cutting CO2 emissions and purifying water with plastic? A plastic membrane which is similar to the membrane found in plants has been developed as part of an international collaboration involving researchers from Hanyang University in Korea, the University of Texas and CSIRO. The discovery was announced in 2007 in the international journal Science.
This innovative plastic membrane not only allows carbon dioxide and other small molecules to move through its hourglass-shaped pores, but, also prevents the movement of larger molecules like methane. The secret to the new plastic lies in the hourglass shape of its pores, which help to separate molecules faster and using less energy than other pore shapes.
"The ability of the new plastic to separate small molecules surpasses the limits of any conventional plastics. It can separate carbon dioxide from natural gas a few hundred times faster than current plastic membranes and its performance is four times better in terms of purity of the separated gas," said Dr Anita Hill of CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering.
Commenting on the subject, director of the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Dr Tom Hatton said: "Because it is so much more efficient than conventional plastic membranes, this material has huge potential to reduce the environmental footprint of water recycling and desalination." It remains to be seen if commercial companies are interested, either for water desalination or for natural gas processing plants.
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