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Surprising Science

Bloody Co2

An enzyme in human blood that enables our lungs to exhale carbon dioxide could be “the key to isolation carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants” in order to safely store them, scientists claim.

“An enzyme in our blood that enables our lungs to exhale carbon dioxide could be the key to isolating carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants in order to store them safely underground,” reports “A company called Carbozyme, based in New Jersey, is developing a synthetic version of the blood enzyme that could capture carbon dioxide using one-third less energy than other methods. The blood enzyme, called carbonic anhydrase, is constantly converting and reconverting carbon dioxide as part of our respiration process. At first, cells pump carbon dioxide into the blood, where carbonic anhydrase converts the gas into bicarbonate to make it easier to transport to the lungs. Then, in the lungs, the same enzyme converts the bicarbonate back into carbon dioxide to be exhaled. Carbonic anhydrase works very efficiently, capturing about two pounds of carbon dioxide per day. By mimicking the way this blood enzyme separates carbon dioxide from other gases in the body, researchers have demonstrated how to capture and separate carbon dioxide from a wide variety of gas emissions, such as those from coal stacks.”


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