Is Hemp the Future of Cleaning CO2 From Our Air?

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A fascinating new research study has begun at Clarkson University. Prof. David Mitlin and Assistant Professor Mario Wriedt are taking hemp, the cannabis plant known for its controversial qualities, and turning it into a carbon material that is porous enough to trap CO2 from the air. The CO2 can then be either scrubbed and released or recycled back into a refinery to produce more oil.

Fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil produce CO2 that leads to global warming. Carbon dioxide is heavier than the air we breath by about 60 percent. Although the air we breathe is a mixture of gases, we need the oxygen to survive. With so much CO2 staying in our atmosphere, we need to get rid of it — and fast.

Companies have tried many costly methods of scrubbing the air clean of CO2. However, such methods are not as effective over time. This new research could help prevent the rapid pace of global warming.