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Environment & Science

USC Nobel laureate develops groundbreaking CO2-soaking polymer

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A team of researchers, led by USC chemist and 1994 Nobel Prize winner George Olah, has created a new kind of polymer capable of sucking CO2 emissions right out of the atmosphere. The idea being that the CO2 can actually be harnessed and used as a base to make the alternative fuel methanol.

Working on a way to create cheaper, iron-based batteries, the team created a new plastic from a polyethylenimine base. Discovering that this new compound was able to eat up high levels of CO2 at low temperatures. With the idea that some day artificial “forests” could be created to reduce CO2 emissions in large areas, they’ve expanded their research to make a version of the plastic able to withstand higher temperatures for use in smokestacks or car exhausts.