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Australian researchers captures CO2 from air for use in industry

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-06 11:37

CANBERRA - A team from Australia's national science body has developed a method to pull harmful carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for use in carbonated beverages.

The Airthena technology from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) captures carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air using tiny sponges.

Project lead Aaron Thornton said in a media release that the captured CO2 could have broad applications across various industries.

Carbon dioxide is used to produce carbonated beverages and in food production. 

Despite CO2 levels in the atmosphere rising, there has been a shortage in industrial supplies.

"As it requires just air and electricity to work, Airthena offers a cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally-friendly option to recycle CO2 for use on-site, on-demand," Thornton said.

"It also provides a more reliable source of CO2 for use in small-scale applications ranging from beverage carbonation to controlling pH in swimming pools, and industrial cleaning."

Amid the shortage, industries have resorted to burning natural gas to generate CO2 -- a practice that Thornton said can be expensive dependent on price and supply fluctuations.

He said that Airthena is currently capable of producing two tonnes of CO2 a year -- enough for small-scale applications -- but could be scaled up.

However, it is unlikely that the technology will ever be able to make an impact reducing CO2 emissions.

"We are now exploring options for taking Airthena to market, which include reducing the cost of the unit for small-scale applications and having it tested to ensure it meets food quality standards, or working with the food production industry to scale up the technology for larger applications," Thornton said.

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