ISARIC 4C Research: Dynamic Use of Mortality Score for Patient Identification and Interventions CO2 Capture and Conversion: Lowering Costs with Electrochemical Systems CO2 Sorption: Evaluating Sorbents for Carbon Capture Efficiency CO2 Catalysis: Speeding Up Conversion of Captured CO2 into Valuable Chemicals Controlled Chemical Microenvironments: Optimizing Catalyst Performance and Environmental Impact in Tumors and Macroalgal Assemblages

ISARIC 4C Research

The ISARIC 4C mortality score identifies patients with high risk of mortality upon admission to hospital, allowing for triage decisions and forecasting resource utilisation. This study aims to evaluate dynamic use of this tool, assessing its ability to identify patients whose deterioration is likely to increase their mortality risk, enabling targeted interventions.

CO2 Capture and Conversion

A variety of technologies have been developed for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it into valuable chemicals. However, many of these processes require complex synthesis procedures, high energy consumption or significant kinetic limitations that limit their potential for commercial application.

Researchers are also investigating ways to reduce the cost of carbon capture and conversion. For example, carbon capture systems that remove CO2 from flue gases at power plants can be expensive to operate because they must separate the captured gas and use fossil fuel-derived steam to bind it.

MIT graduate student Morales-Garcia and her team have proposed an electrochemical system that can be integrated into existing CO2 capture systems to bind and convert the carbon dioxide, reducing the overall cost of carbon removal. The process would be powered by renewable electricity, which could lower the system’s energy requirements and help offset costs. It would also enable the system to reuse sorbents, which would increase the efficiency of the CO2 capture process and reduce operating costs.

CO2 Sorption

The sorption of CO2 from dilute streams such as ambient air has great potential to slow down global warming, and also provide significant amounts of carbon product that could be utilized by conversion. Hence, the study of the sorbents and working processes is one of the key research areas in DAC. Life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic analysis (TEA) are applied to holistically evaluate sorbents for carbon capture with utilization.

Currently, various metal oxides are investigated as sorbent candidates for direct air capture because of their favorable thermodynamic properties and high theoretical CO2 adsorption capacity [1]. However, the availability or cost of the material, regeneration temperature, kinetics, and reversibility must be considered when selecting a sorbent for experimental studies if it is to be used in large-scale applications.

In order to reduce energy penalty, the development of steam-stable adsorbents with high adsorption efficiency is required. The effects of moisture in the air on adsorption are important to consider. For example, water increases the adsorption efficiency by forming a bicarbonate on amine-tethered solid adsorbents whereas dry sorbents accumulate water in their pores and inhibit CO2 penetration [82].

CO2 Catalysis

A team at MIT has found a way to speed up the chemical reaction that turns captured CO2 into valuable chemicals and fuels. Their approach combines a special type of DNA that “tells” the carbon to take up specific positions on a catalyst surface, and an electrochemical jolt that encourages it to react.

The MIT research builds on a growing body of work showing that earth-abundant carbon materials can efficiently catalyze the thermal, photochemical, and electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to useful chemicals and fuels. The research also demonstrates that heterogeneous catalysts can be tunable through control of their chemical microenvironments during the conversion reactions.

In particular, a controlled selection of intermediate species by intrinsic surface modification or doping can lead to improved product selectivity and thus reduce the cost of downstream separation and purification processes. To achieve this, in situ and operando characterization methods with high temporal and spatial resolutions and sufficient surface sensitivity are needed.

Controlled Chemical Microenvironments

In the context of catalytic reactions, controlled chemical microenvironments can help optimize catalyst performance. For example, embedding catalysts into ordered mesoporous inorganic materials such as SBA-15 can result in higher reaction performance due to enhanced reactivity and cycling stability.

The tumor microenvironment (TME) is an environment that surrounds cancer cells that can significantly impact the development, progression and resistance of tumors to drugs. The TME is characterized by complex interactions between cancer cells and their stromal and immune cell components.

O2 concentrations and pH were measured 0.0-50 mm above the substratum in four multispecies macroalgal assemblages containing either a dense turf-sediment or Ecklonia radiata kelp-dominated community. It was found that O2 concentrations are notably higher in turf-sediment assemblages than kelp assemblages, and that these elevated O2 levels impair the photosynthetic and physiological capacity of kelp propagules. Moreover, these changes are rapid and exhibit significant hysteresis. This suggests that the benthic community can readily shift between a kelp and turf-dominated state through chemical changes of the underlying microenvironment.

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