Let’s STORE Them! – New discoveries (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) are being made all the time: An unusual substance known as “dry water,” which resembles powdered sugar, could provide a new way to absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. This would help plans to bury CO2 in places like the desert or the ocean floor.

The substance became known as “dry water” because it consists of 95% water and yet is a dry powder. It was discovered in 1968 and researchers originally planned to use it in cosmetics. Each powder particle contains a water droplet surrounded by modified silica, the stuff that makes up ordinary beach sand. The silica coating prevents the water droplets from combining and turning back into a liquid. The result is a fine powder that can slurp up gases, which chemically combine with the water molecules to form what chemists term a hydrate. Dry water also could provide a safer way to store and transport potentially harmful industrial materials.

Researcher Ben Carter says, “There’s nothing else quite like it.”

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