How Ionic Liquids' Could Keep Factories from Belching Carbon Dioxide
If we don’t put a lid on our fossil fuel-burning spree, the outlook for climate change will only get worse. A key course of action is to reduce the use of combustibles like oil and gas, but weaning the world off of fossil fuels is a tall order. Thankfully, it’s possible to look at the problem—and potential solutions—from a different perspective, too.
Scientists from Queen’s University Ionic Liquids Laboratory (QUILL) in Belfast are working to use new-generation, customised solvents known as “ionic liquids” to filter carbon dioxide out of the flue gas of factories and power plants. The idea is that the stacks, though still churning out smoke, would then puff out far less polluting emissions.
I spoke to QUILL’s researchers, captained by professor Ken Seddon, during an exhibit at London’s Royal Society. They declined to give too many specifics about this CO2-capturing application of the technology, the details of which they’re keeping pretty secret for now, but the basic idea is pretty simple to grasp.