first_imgA team of researchers has developed a novel class of materials that enable a safer, cheaper, and more energy-efficient process for removing greenhouse gas from power-plant emissions. The approach could be an important advance in carbon capture and sequestration.The team, led by scientists from Harvard University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, employed a microfluidic assembly technique to produce microcapsules that contain liquid sorbents, or absorbing materials, encased in highly permeable polymer shells. They have significant performance advantages over the carbon-absorbing materials used in current capture and sequestration technology.The work is described in a paper published online today in the journal Nature Communications.“Microcapsules have been used in a variety of applications — for example, in pharmaceuticals, food flavoring, cosmetics, and agriculture — for controlled delivery and release, but this is one of the first demonstrations of this approach for controlled capture,” said Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a co-lead author. Lewis is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.Power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that traps heat and makes the planet warmer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, coal- and natural gas–fired plants were responsible for a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.That’s why the agency has proposed rules mandating dramatically reduced carbon emissions at all new fossil fuel–fired power plants. Satisfying the new standards will require operators to equip plants with carbon-trapping technology.Current carbon-capture technology uses caustic amine-based solvents to separate CO2 from the flue gas escaping a facility’s smokestacks. But state-of-the-art processes are expensive, result in a significant reduction in a power plant’s output, and yield toxic byproducts. The new technique employs an abundant and environmentally benign sorbent: sodium carbonate, which is kitchen-grade baking soda. The microencapsulated carbon sorbents (MECS) achieve an order-of-magnitude increase in CO2 absorption rates compared to sorbents currently used in carbon capture. Another advantage is that amines break down over time, while carbonates have a virtually limitless shelf life.This schematic illustration shows the encapsulated liquid carbon capture process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) gas diffuses through a highly permeable silicone shell and is absorbed by a liquid carbonate core. The polymer microcapsules are then heated to release absorbed CO2 for subsequent collection.“MECS provide a new way to capture carbon with fewer environmental issues,” said Roger D. Aines, leader of the fuel cycle innovations program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a co-lead author. “Capturing the world’s carbon emissions is a huge job. We need technology that can be applied to many kinds of carbon dioxide sources, with the public’s full confidence in the safety and sustainability.”Researchers at Lawrence Livermore and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Lab are now working on enhancements to the capture process to bring the technology to scale.Aines says that the MECS-based approach could also be tailored to industrial processes like steel and cement production, which are significant greenhouse gas sources.“These permeable silicone beads could be a ‘sliced-bread’ breakthrough for CO2 capture — efficient, easy-to-handle, minimal waste, and cheap to make,” said Stuart Haszeldine, a professor of carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the research. “Durable, safe, and secure capsules containing solvents tailored to diverse applications can place CO2 capture … firmly onto the cost-reduction pathway.”MECS are produced using a double-capillary device in which the flow rates of three fluids — a carbonate solution combined with a catalyst for enhanced CO2 absorption, a photo-curable silicone that forms the capsule shell, and an aqueous solution — can be independently controlled.“Encapsulation allows you to combine the advantages of solid-capture media and liquid-capture media in the same platform,” said Lewis. “It is also quite flexible, in that both the core and shell chemistries can be independently modified and optimized.”“This innovative gas separation platform provides large surface areas while eliminating a number of operational issues, including corrosion, evaporative losses, and fouling,” said Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park, the chair in applied climate science and associate professor of Earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University, who was not involved in the research.Lewis has previously conducted groundbreaking research in the 3-D printing of functional materials, including tissue constructs with embedded vasculature, lithium-ion microbatteries, and ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber epoxy materials.Funding for the encapsulated liquid carbonates work was provided by the Innovative Materials and Processes for Advanced Carbon Capture Technology program of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.Other authors who contributed to the “Nature Communications” article include: James O. Hardin IV of Harvard; John Vericella, Sarah Baker, Joshuah Beeler-Stolaroff, Eric Duoss, James Lewicki, William Floyd, Carlos Valdez, William Smith, Joe Satcher Jr., William Bourcier and Christopher Spadaccini, all of Lawrence Livermore; and Elizabeth Glogowski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.last_img read more

first_imgGovernor Announces Free Software for Students and TeachersPromotes Enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as Economic Development ToolsMontpelier (July 16, 2008) Governor Jim Douglas announced today that Vermont’s students and teachers will soon be eligible for free access to some of the world’s most powerful design and mechanical engineering software as part of the Real World Design Challengea partnership between the State of Vermont, the US Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, Parametric Technology Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Corporation and Flomerics, Inc.Governor Douglas said the partnership, and the challenge at the center of its curriculum, would help generations of young Vermonters obtain the skills they need to succeed in this century and help Vermonts economy grow.”Innovation is what will grow our economy and ensure that every family prospers in an increasingly competitive international market. We must ensure that our children are learning math and science, as well as core technology and engineering skills better than their counterparts throughout the world. We simply cannot afford to fall behind,” the Governor said.last_img read more

first_imgThe Department of Revenue announced on Saturday that the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns is extended to July 15. Taxpayers will have an additional 90 days from the initial deadline of April 15 to file. For the daily COVID-19 Report, visit here For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visit here. Find the latest information on the coronavirus here. Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and use here. Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: hereCommunity preparedness and procedures materials are available here. For an updated map with the number of cases, visit here. Updated coronavirus links: The Department of Revenue will also waive penalties and interest on 2019 personal income tax payments through the new deadline of July 15. This new deadline applies to 2019 tax returns and payments as well as estimated payments for the first and second quarters of 2020. HARRISBURG, Pa. (WBNG) — Pennsylvania gave an update on the coronavirus in the state on Saturday. All non-life-sustaining businesses must close to slow the spread of COVID-19Pennsylvania k-12 schools closed with guidance providedPostponing in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United StatesDiscretion for religious leaders in holding servicesNo visitor policies at all State correctional facilities and nursing homes to ensure the safety of inmates, residents, staff and visitors Restricted visitor policies in state centersRestricted visitor policies in assisted living and personal care homes For more coverage of the coronavirus, click here.center_img The Wolf Administration has announced: For more information, visit www.revenue.pa.gov, where you can find free tax forms and instructions. You can also visit the department’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for additional information. There are 3,766 who have tested negative for the virus, but with commercial labs being the primary testing option for most residents, data cannot be release on how many tests are pending. There have been two deaths statewide. The Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a press release that as of March 21, there are 103 additional positive cases of the coronavirus and one additional death in Allegheny County. The statewide total adds up to 371 positive cases, spread across 28 counties. Due to the high volume of business waiver requests, the Wolf Administration is delaying the order saying that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close to slow the spread of COVID-19. The revised time of enforcement is Monday, March 2 at 8:00 a.m.last_img read more

first_imgTopics : Pharmacies in the oil-rich kingdom have reported shortages of masks amid panic buying, as authorities warned against hoarding and price hikes.Saudi Arabia is scrambling to limit the spread of the deadly disease at home. The kingdom’s health ministry on Sunday said the death toll from the COVID-19 disease had doubled to eight as cumulative infections rose from 1,203 to 1,299 — the highest in the Gulf region.Riyadh has imposed a nationwide partial curfew, barred entry and exit from the capital as well as Islam’s two holiest cities Mecca and Medina and prohibited movement between all provinces. Saudi authorities have seized more than five million medical masks that were illegally stockpiled amid the coronavirus outbreak, state media reported Sunday, as the death toll in the kingdom doubled.The commerce ministry seized 1.17 million masks from a private store in Hail, northwest of the capital, after authorities Wednesday confiscated more than four million masks stored in a facility in the western city of Jeddah in violation of commercial regulations, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.  The ministry said people behind such activities would be prosecuted, and that the confiscated masks would be redistributed to the open market. center_img King Salman warned last week of a “more difficult” fight ahead against the virus, as the kingdom faces the economic double blow of virus-led shutdowns and crashing oil prices.last_img read more