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Researchers at Uni of Manchester Transform SO2 From Harmful to Useful Compound

Scientists have developed molecular cages within a polymer to trap harmful sulfur dioxide pollution to be able to transform it into useful compounds and reduce waste and emissions.

A unique new material created by an international collaboration of scientists has proved that it can assist in reducing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the atmosphere by selectively catching the molecules in minutely engineered cages. The trapped toxic gas can then be safely released for conversion into suitable industrial products and processes.

Nearly 87% of sulfur dioxide emissions are the result of human activity, usually produced by power utilities, different industrial facilities, trains, ships, and heavy tools, and can be harmful to the well-being and the environment. The worldwide team advanced porous, cage-like, stable copper-containing molecules, often called organic molecular frameworks (MOFs), that are created to separate sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas from other gases more efficiently than existing methods.

Professor Martin Schröder, Vice-President and Dean of the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Manchester, and Dr. Sihai Yang, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester, led a global analysis team from UK and U.S. on this research.

The researchers exposed the MOFs to simulated exhaust gases and discovered that they effectively separated out SO2 from the gas combination at elevated temperatures, even in the presence of water.

The analysis, led by The University of Manchester and published in journal Nature Supplies, confirmed a vast enhancement in efficiency compared to existing SO2 capture techniques, which might produce a lot of liquid and solid waste and may only eliminate as much as 95% of the toxic gas, researchers noted.

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