A team led by the University of Manchester has developed an organic mineral structure (MOV) that can absorb toxic nitrogen dioxide from fossil fuel consumption from the air, requiring only water and air to convert the pollutant into an industrial nitrogen acid that is useful for fertilizer and fuel production. Rockets, and much more. MFM520 can absorb nitrogen dioxide from the atmosphere at ambient temperatures and pressures, and with moisture, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, said Sihai Yang, one of the first authors of the study, on air mining theory. «The first organic metal material to absorb the toxic contaminant and turn it into a useful industrial commodity». Martin Schroeder, senior author and professor of chemistry at the University of Manchester, said: “The global market for nitrogen acid reached $ 2.5 billion in 2016, which means that the profitability of this technology is high, and can compensate its manufacturers for its costs, especially as it requires only additives from water and air. ».

Along with computational techniques on which scientists relied, they used neutron spectroscopy, exploiting the ability of neutrons to penetrate the solid metal to probe the interaction of nitrogen dioxide molecules with MFM520. "Thanks to the force of neutron penetration, we knew how nitrogen dioxide molecules were arranged and moved in the pores of the material," said co-author Timmy Ramirez Cuesta.

"The interaction of nitrogen dioxide molecules with the organometallic structure causes minor changes in their vibrational behavior, changes that are only perceived if accurately predicted by a computer model," said co-author Yong Qiangcheng.