Greenhouse gases can be turned benign

Posted on September 1, 2008. Filed under: Science & Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some of the most potent greenhouse gases are also among the most difficult chemicals to destroy, and the most persistent once released into the environment. Scientists have reported that they can chemically react these gases and turn them into more benign compounds. Oleg Ozerov of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts said “Our process allows us to take a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFCs) and transform it so that it is no longer a greenhouse gas.” Fluorocarbons are compounds of Carbon and Flourine, which have wide ranging application. HFCs trap heat extremely well so once released in the atmosphere; it contributes to green house effect. Fluorocarbons do not react at ordinary room temperature. They are known to react at very high temperature with some potent acids. But Ozerov and Christos Douvris have found a way to use these acids as catalyst and help HFCs react chemically without being itself consumed. “Lewis acids”, when used in organic solvents such as benzene, forces HFCs to break their fluorine atoms. The resulting compounds are easier to deal with.  

Reyes Sierra of the University of Arizona in Tuscon has pointed out that though the research is useful, but would not help clean up fluorocarbons already in the environment


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