Quantum Alloys Offer Unique Prospects for CO2 Management Technologies
When common household metals, such as copper, gold, or silver, are reduced in size to clusters that consist of a few dozen atoms, the materials develop completely unexpected properties. One example occurs for gold, which is inert in its bulk form, but which develops the ability to efficiently catalyze chemical reactions when made as atomic-scale clusters that are over 1,000 times smaller than a human hair and invisible to the eye. These properties result from quantum confinement effects, a term scientists use to describe how small clusters and particles evolve with size. Quantum effects are the principal driving force behind the field of nanotechnology, where engineers manipulate the colors, electrical conductivity, and chemistry of matter simply by controlling and constraining size at the atomic scale.
Estimating Carbon Dioxide Storage in Geologic Formations
Carbon, Capture, and Storage (CCS) is an option to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Carbon emissions are captured from stationary sources such as power plants and then injected in the form of supercritical CO2 into select deep geologic formations. Formations such as depleted oil and gas fields, deep saline formations, and unmineable coal seams have a competent seal and geologic trapping capability that will prevent CO2 from escaping back into the atmosphere. Estimates of CO2 storage capacity in geologic formations are required to assess the potential for CCS technologies to contribute towards reducing CO2 emissions globally. Governments and industries worldwide rely on these estimates for broad energy-related government policy and business decisions. Dependable CO2 storage estimates are necessary to ensure successful deployment of CCS technologies