Thursday, January 14, 2010

Copper-catalyst offers path to economic capture of CO2

Tomorrow's edition of the journal Science includes a study that found a copper-containing catalyst binds two CO2 molecules into an oxalate, and allows the catalyst to be more easily recovered.  So far, there has not been a cost-effective technique to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere, but researchers suggest this new process may offer a solution.

If the process turns out to be effective and scalable on a global scale, how much copper would it require?    With Arizona supply 65% of the nations copper, could this make a significant demand for the metal?

[right, CO2 molecules, top, are converted to oxalates by a catalyst, middle, and later released, bottom.  Credit, adapted from E. Bouwman, University of Leiden]

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