A better method of storing natural gas could prove to be one of the positive factors in truly counteracting the rise in global temperature caused by the misuse of coal and oil as fuels.
This is why two researchers, Mert Atilhan of Texas A&M University and Cafer Yavuz of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), are developing a new polymer that can store natural gas more efficiently than the methods used so far.
As Atilhan himself explains, “if natural gas can be stored effectively, it can be used easily, even in remote areas,” i.e. those areas where coal and oil extraction are usually the only methods used.
The traditional method of storing natural gas in compressed form requires either high-pressure compression or extreme temperature reduction.
In this new process, natural gas is absorbed by an absorbent, porous polymer at relatively low pressure, i.e. 100 to 900 psi, and at room temperature, which solves both problems.
Atilhan himself explains the path his research has taken: “With this work, we are introducing a new plastic-based material that can store natural gas very effectively. We have broken the world record for the storage of natural gas and largely exceeded the target for materials to be considered feasible, as set by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). It also has a very economical production cost, which makes it even more attractive to use in widespread applications.”