New “bio-based hybrid foam” can absorb CO2 from the atmosphere more sustainably and cost-effectively, suggests new study, made by combining gelatin and cellulose with zeolites, minerals known for their absorbent properties. Researchers claim this new material is cheap and absorbs CO2 extremely well.

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And what do we do with this foam once it absorbs the CO2? Can it be used as a building material or be composted or something?


FFS people, they make very careful claims about their discoveries and every arm chair scientist thinks they have outsmarted these researchers by yelling about trees and how this isnt a miracle cure. They arent pretending it is. Their finding is in high weight loadings of a known CO2 scrubber into a more processable foam. Every single chemistry thread devolved into trash off topic discussions where everyone tries to pretend they also do science.


If the manufacturing process is carbon neutral, cheap and we can store it safely for an extremely long period of time it sounds like a good plan. Its not like we are acting responsible and limiting CO2 emissions on our own.


**This paper title is designed for experts in zeolite research and the article title is misleading, the true impact of the paper is going to be misinterpreted by justifiably skeptical lay people.** *Let me try to explain:* A Zeolite can be one of many silicon-oxygen based crystal structures(think quartz) which contain regularly ordered pore networks. These crystals can be manipulated in a variety of ways but the most important aspect is the ordered pore network which allows for all sorts of controlled diffusion for atom-scale objects(read: CO2). Some of these structures will selectively “choose” to diffuse smaller and more compact molecules over larger and longer molecules. This trait is very useful in all sorts of chemical industry where isolating–not producing–your product is the costliest step. Unfortunately the production of zeolites(mining,synthesis) is not quite on par with idealized use and produces very small crystal particles which must be bound together. Because of this, a rather stellar tool is either forced to under perform or is not used at all. This is true for both product separation and waste treatment. Being able to produce a cheap monolith of zeolites which can easily conform to the shapes needed during separation(tubes, sheet, plug) is a massive incentive to industry members. Many groups around the globe are working on new ways to involve zeolites in cost-effective, environmentally beneficial membrane separation to keep our air and water clean. This is NOT a foam pad everyone will have to put out on their front stoop, but a proof of concept for industry clients who are interested in lowering operational costs and reducing environmental impacts. Also, because so many of you seem to really care, the collagen proteins used are not operationally critical for producing this “foam” and many other polymer chemistries could be applied. Using collagen seems like more of a PR decision many researchers feel forced to make in order to find plentiful, and cheap, alternatives to more expensive specialty sources and add a bit of curb appeal to their work. On the other hand, a very cheap and plentiful alternative for current membrane technology could have been the direct motivation, but the abstract suggests otherwise. **TL;DR:** Zeolites good, CO2 bad. Thor Benson fell victim to click-bait demand and caused readers to misinterpret valid and impactful scientific work with inappropriate article title…


Cool. Now if only they could get the gelatin without raising and slaughtering millions of animals. It’s the only source of gelatin and highly co2 producing.