Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2022

The premise of carbon capture technologies is simple: remove the greenhouse gas from the air and store it somewhere safe or turn it into something useful. So far, though, developing such technologies at scale has proved rather tricky. One of the main challenges has been finding the right material that can bind to carbon atoms released into the atmosphere.

But scientists at Clarkson University claim that they have recently discovered a promising — though unsavory — candidate that can do the job well: waste milk. The unpleasant-sounding research, which was published in the journal Advanced Sustainable Systems, has the potential to not only help us control carbon emissions but also prevent food waste that often contributes to them.

An estimated 50 million gallons of perfectly-good surplus milk goes to waste every year. Instead of pouring it down the drain, the Clarkson researchers found milk to be a good source of activated carbons — the porous material that sticks to carbon. And since so much of it is wasted, milk is both cheaper than other sources explored as well as more environmentally friendly.

“Powdered milk can be converted into advanced activated carbons with the right porosity and surface chemistry to adsorb the CO2,” said study coauthor Mario Wriedt, “allowing much better control than with the current materials used for this process, like coconut shells or coal.”

Using waste milk to help advance carbon capture technologies seems like the perfect opportunity for dairy farms to reduce their infamous footprints of greenhouse gases. At the same time, it could also help increase farmers’ incomes as they would be able to sell more of their products.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

“Blue Corridors”: using science and animal instinct to save fish populations

We’ve all marveled at the intrepid salmon swimming against the current, up waterfalls, and avoiding predators to return to its native spawning grounds, or at least we’ve all seen it on a nature show. This ... Read More

The Local Infrastructure Hub: helping US cities get infrastructure funding

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was signed into law six months ago and has the potential to transform the United States in essential ways that address climate change and wealth inequality. Before that happens, though, states ... Read More

New desalination system uses Teflon-like membrane to make seawater potable

Clean drinking water is already in short supply in many places around the world, but the situation is only expected to get worse with climate change. Figuring out ways to desalinate brackish water or seawater ... Read More

How scientists are bringing human eye cells back from the dead

Scientists from Switzerland and the US were able to achieve something miraculous—some might even say Biblical: bringing dead human cells back to life! The team published a study that opens by defining death as the ... Read More

Turns out the job market isn’t all doom and gloom after all

Life is a surprising adventure, experiencing ups and downs when we least expect it, so, of course, just as we come out of a global pandemic there looms the possibility of an economic recession. Amid ... Read More

MIT system uses machine-learning to reduce traffic and car emissions

As if idling in a line of cars at a red light forever wasn’t bothersome enough, vehicles emit greenhouse gasses while they’re stopped in traffic. Not only that, exposure to excess vehicle emissions while idling ... Read More