Clean Air Tech from Oman

A group of graduate engineers from the Higher College of Technology in Muscat (Oman) – have developed a new technique for extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air and changing it into useful minerals and nanoscale carbon using chemical processes and chemical reactions.

The research team, led by Dr. Muthana Abdulmajed Jamel, includes: Buthaina Mohammed AL.Saidi, Zainab Salim AL.Hamdi, Basma Abdullah AL.Mawali, Sana Ameen AL.Ghafri. Their invention promises to pave the way to an economical and non-polluting means of making valuable materials and of combatting environmental change.

Model of CO2 sensor showing the amount of CO2 in PPM. (Courtesy of the Higher College of Technology)

The team’s air purification device reduces the high level of carbon dioxide in an enclosed space, such as a room, as well as the number of harmful airborne particles, such as viruses, microbes and dust. The device also generates slight humidity, filling a room with clean and fresh air.

About the device

The device and method of purifying air by absorbing CO2 consists of a glass container (9) filled with seawater.

The container has soft corners made from aluminum (4) and a cover (3) with small holes (2) and a holder at its top (1).

The container includes bottles (7) with holes (2), which are attached to an air pump (6) located outside the container (9) and connected to the bottles with pipes (5).

Model of the purification device that absorbs CO2 from the air (Courtesy of the Higher College of Technology)

How it works

The method of extracting carbon dioxide involves the following procedures:

  • The glass container is filled with sea water or a mixture of distilled water and salt.
  • The temperature of room and the pH level of the water inside the device are then measured.
  • Thereafter, the CO2 level in the room is measured using the CO2 sensor which is a part of the device. If CO2 levels are above 600 PPM (parts per million) then the air pump engages automatically and begins drawing the room’s air into the bottles inside the container.
  • The CO2 gas in the air of the room reacts with the sea water and its salt to produce carbonic acid.
  • The pH level is measured after the reaction to confirm that carbonic acid is produced.
  • Natural rocks which do not absorb CO2 but serve as packing materials, are placed in the bottles to reduce the size of the bubbles being released from the bottles. The reaction mentioned above takes place on the surface of the bubbles, so it is important to reduce the size of the bubbles to speed up the reaction.
  • The air that is released from the device contains a much lower level of CO2 per meter.

How this device/method stand apart from previous innovations

Research of the earlier patented solutions (prior art), shows that previous technologies:

  • did not solve the problem of acid production arising from the chemical reaction occurring when CO2 in the air interacts with water. The resulting acidification of bodies of water is shown to be harmful to marine life.
  • require energy inputs (which, in turn generate CO2 emissions) to create specific environmental conditions (e.g. air pressure and temperature), to operate effectively.
  • dissolve CO2 gas, which can be reemitted when the prevailing environmental conditions change.

The device’s in-built CO2 sensor consists of two parts; a portable element, which sends a signal to the second element which is HC-12 Wireless Transceiver Module. The HC-12 connected to the air pump to work automatically when CO2 levels rise above 600 PPM; and closes when CO2 levels fall below 600 PPM.

Carbon dioxide and a green environment

Atmospheric CO2is the primary carbon source for life on earth. Concentrations of CO2 in the earth's pre-industrial atmosphere (since the late Precambrian period) has been regulated by photosynthetic organisms and geological phenomena.

Plants, algae and cyanobacteria use light energy to photosynthesize carbohydrate from carbon dioxide and water, with oxygen produced as a waste product. Photosynthesis is not possible without sunlight, meaning that at night time, when plants produce carbon dioxide through cellular respiration, CO2 levels rise because there is no means of absorbing the gas or converting it through photosynthesis.

This means that at night rural, agricultural dwellings, especially those surrounded by vegetation, experience high concentrations of CO2. In the evening, the ability of plants to absorb CO2 through photosynthesis falls whereas the level of carbon dioxide arising from human activity increases causing a negative impact on householders, who may experience headaches, insomnia, nausea etc.

Our device helps to reduce the concentration of CO2 within such dwellings and thereby to create greater well-being among householders. Its built-in sensor, monitors CO2 levels ensuring that the device (and the process of eliminating the gas) kicks in automatically when concentrations rise above 600 ppm and closes down when CO2 levels fall below that level, thereby saving energy and reducing emissions.

Intellectual property rights

Recognizing the importance of safeguarding the team’s research outputs, the Higher College of Technology in Muscat, Oman, registered a patent application (OM/P/2018/002), on behalf of the team, in July 2018 and also filed an international application (PCT/OM2019/050007) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in July 2019 for a

“Device and method to purify the air by absorbing CO2 from the air.”

It is important for us to patent our device and to safeguard our invention as this will enable us to build our business.

As greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming increase every year, it is very important to support ideas and technological developments that help to mitigate the effects of global warming.