Science has a way of overtaking extreme green causes and neutralising them.

The CSIRO is part of this morning’s announcement of a “fantastic plastic” material that could make desalination much less destructive than it is with current technology and boost the chances of clean coal becoming a more obviously viable alternative to nuclear fission for eliminating excessive greenhouse gas emissions from base load power generation.

The collaboration by the CSIRO and research units in South Korea and the US is revealed in technical detail to subscribers in the newest edition of the journal Science.

CSIRO scientist Dr Anita Hill says the new plastic “separates carbon dioxide from natural gas a few hundred times faster than current plastic membranes, increases the efficiency of water purification and improves the options for making hydrogen and using it for power generation.”

The tailored hourglass shaped aquaporins in the new material selectively conduct water molecules in or out of cells while preventing the passages of unwanted molecules such as salt.

They can also be used to more efficiently capture the methane and carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion, or to better extract hydrogen from gases rich in nitrogen.

CSIRO water scientist Dr Tom Hatton says it “has huge potential to reduce the environmental footprint of water recycling and desalination.”

And at a policy level, it is a kick in the membranes for those green activists who pin their action plans on shutting down economic activity, or rely on confiscatory social engineering, to solve the perils and consequences of global warming rather than using science and brainpower to overcome them.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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