And speaking of decarbonizing the atmosphere…

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have created a powder that plucks carbon gas out of waste streams from factories and power plants. The powder does the job far cheaper and twice as efficiently than any other method, the developers say.

The scientists devised a process that uses salt and heat to reduce plant matter to a carbon powder. The powder’s spheres are shot through with microscopic pores, most of them no bigger than one twenty-five-thousandth of an inch.

Waste gases from industrial processes flow through the powder and carbon molecules stick to their relatives in the pores. When the powder is fully clogged with carbon, it’s trucked away and buried so that the carbon stays sequestered from the air.


Capturing carbon before it gets into the air is more effective and efficient than trying to suck it out once it’s on the loose. Using a cheap, abundant material like carbon from plant waste to achieve that goal is the most promising, and resource-efficient, way demonstrated so far. Once commercialized, it’s likely to become a standard technique.

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