A team of researchers, led by Professor Paul Webley, at the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, based at the University of Melbourne, have developed a novel method of capturing carbon dioxide that reduces the cost of separating and storing the gas.

The team has developed a new type of molecular sieve that allows carbon dioxide molecules to be trapped and stored.

Professor Webley said that "Because the process allows only carbon dioxide molecules to be captured, it will reduce the cost and energy required for separating carbon dioxide. The technology works on the principle of the material acting like a trap-door that only allows certain molecules to enter. Once entered, the trapdoor closes and the carbon dioxide molecules remain."

The new material is expected to have important applications to natural gas purification, as well as carbon capture from fossil-fuel power plants. Many natural gas fields contain excess carbon dioxide that must be removed before the gas can be liquefied and shipped.