A toxic pollutant produced by burning fossil fuels can be captured from the exhaust gas stream and converted into useful industrial chemicals using only water and air thanks to a new advanced material developed by an international team of scientists.
New research led by The University of Manchester, has developed a metal-organic framework (MOF) material that provides a selective, fully reversible and repeatable capability to capture nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic air pollutant produced particularly by diesel and bio-fuel use. The NO2 can then be easily converted into nitric acid, a multi-billion dollar industry with uses including, agricultural fertilizer for crops; rocket propellant and nylon.
MOFs are tiny three-dimensional structures which are porous and can trap gasses inside, acting like cages. The internal empty spaces in MOFs can be vast for their size, just one gram of material can have a surface area equivalent to a football pitch.