Program ID: Innovation Anthology #684
Program Date: 04/28/2015
Program Category: Alberta, Biotechnology, Engineering, Environment, Nanotechnology
Age of Biological Systems: Carbon Capture and Conversion
Ingenuity Lab at the University of Alberta is developing a fix for excess emissions of carbon dioxide.
The group has replicated the biological process of photosynthesis that plants use to fix carbon.
Dr. Carlo Montemagno is Ingenuity Lab's director. As he explains, his team has created a reactor that captures carbon dioxide and fixes it into a solid structure. It can then be transformed into other products like drop-in chemicals.
DR. CARLO MONTEMAGNO: So we've identified over 40 different drop-in chemicals that we can manufacture. Right now we're focused on using this technology in high CO2 streams, basically exhaust gas out of power plants and other sorts of industrial operations. But if we're able to drive the cost down, you could easily use solar energy and actually make CO2 farms in which you are using sunlight to to capture CO2 and produce valuable added products and you'd be farming the CO2 out of the atmosphere directly.
Some of these drop in chemicals include a food additive called manitol. There's ethylene glycol for antifreeze, and a number of precursors for plastics.
Thanks today to INGENUITY LAB
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY
I'M CHERYL CROUCHER