Researchers have developed a small organic molecule that assembles into a porous structure and absorbs hydrocarbons and their derivatives, many of which are potent greenhouse gases.  The material is lightweight, as well as thermally and hydrolytically stable.  For anyone involved in the emission and capture of greenhouse gases, recent developments in nanotechnology, or just simply interested in the climate change issue, this new research represents a potentially groundbreaking development in the battle to combat greenhouse gases.

A University of Houston-led team conducted the research and published it last month in Nature Communications.   Titled Thermally robust and porous noncovalent organic framework with high affinity for fluorocarbons and CFCs, the study reports that the nanoporous structure can capture as much as 75% of its weight in hydrocarbons and fluorocarbons.

According to the authors, while “precise engineering at the nanoscale is difficult to achieve with discrete molecules, since they rarely crystallize as porous structures” they were able to develop a molecule that self-organizes into a noncovalent framework with large empty pores.

Crystals of the framework are able to absorb ozone-depleting greenhouse gases such as CFCs, hydrocarbons, and fluorocarbons.

The implications of this nanomaterial, and its potential utility in fighting greenhouse gases, are wide-ranging.  The study raises many questions that the researchers plan to address with further research and publications.  The current study is, nevertheless, an enormous leap forward in the battle against ozone depleting and the utility of nanomaterials.  A link to the article can be found here.