Engineers from the University of California have designed micromotors that could be used to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in the sea.
These micromotors use enzymes to move through the sea and convert carbon dioxide into a solid while they swim.
“In the future, we could use these micromotors as part of a water treatment system, such as a water decarburization plant”
said Kevin Kaufmann, a co-author of the study.
These micromotors can use the environment as fuel, they will be more scalable and less expensive.
In experiments to date, micromotors had rapidly decarbonized ionized water solutions containing carbon dioxide. Within five minutes, the engines had removed 90% of the carbon dioxide from the solution. In seawater, they removed 88%.
The conversion of carbon dioxide to calcium carbonate, a compound found naturally in shells and corals, is currently one of the most environmentally reliable methods of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in water.
Other solutions to the problem have been suggested, but most are very expensive, use toxic chemicals, or are energy intensive. The research team claimed that their microbots would be more efficient.