MIT Develops Cleaner, Greener Nanotube Manufacturing Process

Carbon nanotubes are a component used in electronics, medicine and industrial design. They are tiny, strong and have very useful electrical properties, but producing them can cause environmental problems due to the chemicals used to manufacture them.

Hydrogen is combined with feedstock gas such as methane, carbon monoxide or ethylene. Then heated in a reactor with a catalyst like nickel or iron to form the nanotubes. Huge amounts of greenhouse gases and hazardous air pollutants are released into the atmosphere in the production of carbon nanotubes.

This may not be true anymore as scientists at MIT have discovered another method of producing them in an eco friendly manner. Desiree Plata led the research at MIT from 2007 to 2009 as a doctoral student which led to the new method where less energy was used in producing carbon nanotubes and the pollutants were also reduced.

The new method has reduced emissions by ten times and the energy needs by 50%. It is being touted as more economically viable as well as being green.

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