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18-year-old schoolboy Ethan Novek

The mission "Catch СО2!"

While the whole world spends millions of dollars to fight against greenhouse effect, young geniuses create revolutionary technologies right in school laboratories. So, 18-year-old schoolboy Ethan Novek proposed not to fight the consequences of global air pollution with carbon dioxide, but to eliminate its root cause.

The young man developed a system that allows to capture tons of industrial CO2 in order to use it in creation of various chemicals or other purposes. The proposed concept is not new in itself. CO2 capture is one of the most significant technologies of the new generation, which allows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. For example, ExxonMobil has been working on improving it for more than 30 years. In the same direction is developing the Japanese corporation JGCCorporation and dozens of American and European experts.

ExxonMobil has been working on CO2 capture technology for more than 30 years

ExxonMobil has been working on CO2 capture technology for more than 30 years, photo WEB

CCS technology allows to catch, squeeze and pump carbon dioxide into underground or other reservoirs. Already from these "traps" CO2 goes to the place of use, instead of being aimlessly thrown into the atmosphere.

The attractiveness of this concept is that it does not require fundamental changes in the structure of the energy complex. In order to significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide to the environment, it is sufficient to simply install additional equipment at existing plants.

And nevertheless, such technologies can not be called cheap. That is why the system developed by Novek is of particular interest for power generating companies. The cost of absorbing a ton of carbon dioxide by the technology offered by the student is only $ 10. And this is 8.5 times cheaper than the cost of today's CCS industrial methods.   

The cost of absorbing a ton of CO2 using Novec's technology is only $ 10

The cost of absorbing a ton of CO2 using Novek's technology is only $ 10, photo WEB

Revolutionary technology was perfected right in the school laboratory. The method is based on the usual technique of salting out carbamide, which is used for the production of ammonia fertilizers. In the energy sector, the student offers to apply it quite simply.

Exhaust gases at facilities using fossil fuels should be emitted into a water-ammonium mixture. Here, as a result of the chemical reaction of ammonia with carbon dioxide, salt will form with the release of inert gases. Then, with the aid of a solvent, an inverse reaction is triggered, and afterwards, the ammonia mixture and the solvent are again separated by distillation.

So there is no need to use expensive chemicals, which today are traditionally used in CCS technologies for CO2 binding. In addition, in classical methods, the captured gas is purified from the remaining reagents at very high temperatures. The concept of Novek also solves this problem - the process of capture and compression of CO2 requires two-thirds less energy than any of the existing technologies.

The CO2 capture system developed by Ethan NovekThe CO2 capture system developed by Ethan Novek, photo ©

It is not surprising that in the scientific world the invention of a talented young man caused a resonance. Developments of the young scientist were interested by professors of Yale University and already in 2017, by joint efforts of the older and younger generations, the results of the research were published in the authoritative edition of Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

Right after that, Novek founded his own company, which continues to work on improving the pilot plant, the possibilities of which are impressive right now. In a day such a system is able to catch more than a ton of pure CO2. It remains to wish good luck to the developers and the health of our planet!

Victoria Romanova, Russia, Moscow