While there are many substances that can affect the climate, carbon dioxide is the most discussed. This material is produced from the combustion systems we use to drive our cars, heat our homes, cook our food, and power much of our world, so with this many sources, it makes sense that people are trying to capture it. Now researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a new technology for capturing carbon dioxide that could prove extremely useful in reducing levels.
A somewhat obvious way to capture carbon dioxide from the air is with a sieve that has holes just big enough to let that gas through, and not others. The catch is that smaller gases can also get through, which means a purification process is needed to isolate the carbon dioxide. What the researchers have done is devise a new sieve that has holes that act like trap doors. Once the carbon dioxide gas slips through, the hole shuts and captures it.
This ability to more selectively filter carbon dioxide could prove very useful for not only preventing it from entering the atmosphere, but also to provide new fuels. With carbon dioxide as one of the fuels, reactions can be started to reverse the combustion reaction and generate gasoline, methane, or some other hydrocarbon fuel. Currently such methods are not very economical, but with technology like this, that could change.