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University Turns Carbon Emissions Into Manufacturing Material

By Sharon Chen
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There are many ways that universities are driving climate change solutions. Through their innovation and commitment to a sustainable world, institutions of higher education are leading the way in carbon neutrality, developing clean energy systems, and now – they’re removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere and turning it into something valuable.

A group of scientists at George Washington University has developed a technology that economically converts atmospheric CO2 into highly valued carbon nanofibers. Through this technology, CO2 would transform from a global warming problem into manufacturing material used in wind turbine blades, high-end sports equipment, and artificial muscles – all by using a few volts of electricity, some sunlight, and a lot of carbon dioxide.

Dr. Stuart Licht, the head of the George Washington University research team, says that this technology “could remove enough CO2 to decrease atmospheric levels to those of the pre-industrial revolution within 10 years.” This is promising news on many fronts.  Any decrease in atmosphere carbon buildup is welcome, and perhaps equally important is the encouraging example set by Dr. Licht and his team. Climate change problems are not insurmountable, especially when universities continue to innovate and put their collective power to work to effect sustainable change.

"Diamonds From the Sky": Scientists Spin Wonder Materials From Thin Air

Denise Hassanzade Ajiri | The Christian Science Monitor | August 20, 2015

Reducing the greenhouse emissions has been an international goal for years, but now scientists have a solution about the carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere: They want to turn them into nanofibers.

A group of scientists from George Washington University, led by Dr. Stuart Licht, say they have developed a technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers.

“Rather than an attempt to survive the climate change consequences of flooding, wildfires, starvation, economic disruption, human death, and species extinction, we must mitigate the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide,” Dr. Licht said in a press conference Wednesday at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

“We report today that we have found a viable solution to mitigate climate change,” he added.

Licht explained that through their “simple procedure” atmospheric CO2 “is directly transformed into stable, useful, compact, valuable carbon products.”

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