Researchers have said very small nickel particles completely remove carbon dioxide from water, but the question of whether it can be used to remove carbon dioxide from the air is raised.
The current method of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere involves pumping the stripped out gas into rock formations or former oil wells. This method has the flaw of potential re-release of the gas from seepage or an earthquake.
The new option involves using the nickel to speed up the reaction of carbon dioxide in water, and then combine it with either calcium or magnesium to create a solid mineral that is not releasing the gas into the atmosphere.
This could prove a large benefit to companies that produce a lot of carbon dioxide, because the current removal method by using a chemical in water is very expensive. Using nickel is about 1,000 times cheaper and can be used more than once since it is a catalyst in the process and remains in the water after the process is complete.
The scientists have said it is not feasible to have one of these systems in your car to absorb your personal emissions, but would be effective on large carbon dioxide-producing industries like coal and oil-fired power plants.