Stamford Welland Academy captured carbon dioxide in a bottle for Cop26 climate conference
Pupils have captured carbon dioxide in a bottle to present to world leaders coming to the Cop26 climate change conference.
The young scientists from Stamford Welland Academy have invited Alok Sharma, president of Cop26, to receive the bottle in the hope it can sit on his table at the United Nations conference and highlight the presence of carbon dioxide in the world.
The science lab experiment was designed using everyday objects, including a solar-powered garden pump and a solution of caustic soda.
Bi-products of the experiment can be reused by the food, paper and glass industries.
John Hickman, head of science at Stamford Welland Academy, said: “I’m thrilled that pupils have embraced this experiment with such enthusiasm. Using their science knowledge in this way is heartening to see.”
The pupils aimed to find out what percentage of sodium hydroxide captured the most carbon dioxide. They pumped air through the solutions and weighed them.
By weighing the solutions before and after the experiment and calculating the difference, pupils discovered the ‘40 per cent’ solution captured the most.
Victoria Lloyd, headteacher of Stamford Welland Academy, said:“We always encourage our pupils to look beyond Stamford and this has been a superb opportunity for them.
“They are the generation whose lives will be most disrupted by climate change, which is why they have written to Alok Sharma in the run up to Cop26, to have their voices heard as representatives of this generation.”
The school’s climate project is directed by planetary scientists Claudio Vita-Finzi and John Marshall of the SETI institute in California and the aim is to show one of the ways that carbon dioxide can be recaptured directly from the air.
Professor Vita-Finzi said:“We are not the first people to have proposed this idea, but these pupils have proved its merit and shown it could be scaled up swiftly as one of the solutions to move us towards our net zero carbon target.”
To use this experiment on a larger scale to tackle climate change, the equivalent of 800 Olympic swimming pools of air would need to be pumped through a tank of sodium hydroxide to capture one tonne of carbon dioxide.
The method could be used to absorb carbon dioxide directly from a fossil fuel power station or factory.