A new class of self-forming membrane to separate carbon dioxide from a mixture of gases has been developed by Newcastle University researchers.

Operating like a coffee filter, it lets harmless gases, such as nitrogen, exit into the atmosphere and then the can be processed.

The team believe that the system may be applicable for use in carbon dioxide separation processes, either to protect the environment or in reaction engineering.

By growing the expensive part of the membrane—made from silver—during membrane operation, they dramatically reduced the demand for silver and the cost of the membrane.

The work is published in Energy and Environmental Science and Dr. Greg Mutch, NUAcT Fellow from the School of Engineering, Newcastle University, UK explains, “We didn’t build the entire membrane from silver, instead we added a small amount of silver and grew it within the membrane adding the functionality we desired.

“Most importantly, the performance of the membrane is at the level required to be competitive with existing processes—in fact, it would likely reduce the size of the equipment required significantly and potentially lower operating costs.”

Read more at Phys.org