The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest report called for a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in a bid to achieve net-zero goals. To boost India’s chances, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) in Hyderabad has come up with a material that can absorb greenhouse gas methane, converting it to clean Hydrogen.

The team has for now succeeded in computationally designing this hybrid material that can also simulate a process of capturing carbon dioxide in-situ and converting it to high purity hydrogen from non-fuel grade bioethanol. The team has developed a facility where they can test this material and push for innovative technology in carbon capture.

The IPCC report has focused on the immediate need to boost carbon-capturing technology across the world, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries that emit a big chunk of greenhouse gases.

The Ministry of Science & Technology in a statement said that given the global warming potential of greenhouse gases, scientists are trying to explore innovative methods of absorbing these gases and converting them to useful substances.

The new facility developed by the researchers is a dual operational fixed cum fluidized bed reactor system (FBR) that can carry out enhanced steam methane reforming (SESMR) for high purity H2 production based on the modeling and preliminary experimental studies.

“It is unique and available for the first time in the country to test the performance of dual-functional materials for SESMR in the fluidized bed reactor system. SESMR offers specific advantages of in-situ CO2 removal through sorbents and thereby overcomes the equilibrium limitations of steam reforming and leads to high purity H2 production,” the ministry added.

The team is currently involved in synthesising the dual functional materials identified from theoretical predictions while also optimising existing sorbent/catalyst materials for meeting the increasing challenges of carbon capture and utilization and associated research.

An estimated 640 million tons of methane were emitted into the atmosphere last year by human activity; roughly 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted during the same period. Preliminary analysis reveals that the annual increase in atmospheric methane during 2021 was 17 parts per billion (ppb), which was 15.3 ppb a year before.

Scientists part of the IPCC has identified methane as the biggest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide, citing fossil fuel as the biggest source of these emissions. The panel has called for drastic cuts in emissions by 2030 in order to achieve net zero by 2050 and gave the planet a fighting chance against climate change.


India today