We developed a material that prevents plastic from ageing. When applied to plastic lining it can effectively clean up exhaust gases from power plants, making the separation process 50 times faster.
More efficient gas capture and separation
Currently, the techniques the energy industry uses to separate out raw materials such as gases, liquids and solids are extremely energy-intensive, accounting for 40 per cent of the world's energy use each year.
Power generators typically rely on plastic linings made up of tiny holes just one nanometre wide, a tiny fraction of a width of a human hair.
For decades scientists have been trying to improve the efficiency of this process by using plastics with larger holes. However, these larger openings tend to age very quickly and collapse within a matter of days.
Freezing the ageing process
We have applied a new innovative material called metal organic frameworks or MOFs. These compact materials freeze the larger hole structures of the plastic for a whole year, effectively preventing them from ageing.
Applying this technology makes the lining with larger holes a viable option for industry, allowing them to complete separation processes at 50 times the speed.
Capturing gases 50 times faster
The new technique offers industry an environmentally friendly solution to capturing gas that's more efficient and cost-effective.
The technique could also be used to enhance the purity of natural gas streams, in the separation of water from alcohols (a key process in biofuel synthesis) and for dye removal in the textile industry.
We are working on applying it commercially in Australia and overseas.
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