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How 3M Is Innovating To Address Climate Challenges

How 3M Is Innovating To Address Climate Challenges

Published 06-12-24

Submitted by 3M

Originally published on 3M News Center

As the world looks to accelerate climate action, 3M is intensifying its commitment to climate innovation—using cutting-edge materials science to advance decarbonization, energy efficiency, resilient infrastructure and more. 3M’s diverse global portfolio and deep technological expertise enables our company to develop products that consumers and other companies can use to tackle some of the most pressing climate issues. Below are just a few areas where 3M Science is making an impact.

Removing carbon from the atmosphere

Carbon capture is essential to global environmental stewardship. To get to net-zero atmospheric carbon, the world needs to remove at least 1-2 gigatons annually directly from the atmosphere—one gigaton of mass is roughly equivalent to 200 million elephants.

To help advance decarbonization and direct air capture, 3M is collaborating with companies like Svante to innovate solutions like Sorbent-on-a-Roll (SOAR), a reusable sorbent filtration material that acts like a sponge to adsorb CO2 from the atmosphere. When a filter box of SOAR material is saturated, the carbon is removed by steam heat and can be permanently sequestered, enabling the filter to continue adsorbing more carbon.

By leveraging each company’s capabilities – including 3M’s ability to produce advanced filtration technology at-scale – 3M and Svante believe it will be feasible to capture millions of tons of CO2 from diverse sites around the world.

Turning greenhouses into power plants

Greenhouses are an essential tool to meet growing food production demands, which must increase by 50-70% while simultaneously minimizing environmental and energy impact. In the US, greenhouses cover 13.9 million acres and are expected to grow 10% annually.

3M is partnering with Voltiris to transform greenhouses, helping them become energy-independent while simultaneously improving plant growth and yield. 3M’s solution is light management, using an array of thin films to capture the optimal light waves to grow plants, then utilizing the remaining light waves to produce solar energy that can provide up to 70% of a greenhouse’s energy needs.

There is no one-size-fits all solution when it comes to greenhouses and the challenges they have. This is why 3M will soon be offering a portfolio of thin film solutions to help reduce energy use and increase crop yield.

Image of solar panels shown from an aerial view.

Making clean hydrogen power a reality

Green hydrogen—a sustainable fuel source produced using renewable energy—is a critical strategy in reducing global carbon emissions, especially for hard-to-decarbonize industries like steel production and long-haul transport. It is estimated that clean hydrogen will supply 15% of global energy demands by 2050, abating carbon emissions up to 80 gigatons.

To meet this need, 3M is supporting the developing hydrogen economy—from production to storage and shipping solutions. For example, just ten grams of our innovative 3M™ Nanostructured Supported Iridium Catalyst Powder can help separate ten tons of hydrogen from water while preventing 100 tons of carbon emissions annually. It can help the industry reach its goals to reduce hydrogen production costs by 80% and create momentum for an industry estimated at $4.3 billion by 2026 and $2.5 trillion by 2050.

Additionally, 3M has invested in EVOLOH, a California-based developer of electrolyzer stacks for hydrogen production, and signed a joint research project agreement with HD Hyundai Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (KSOE) to develop large liquid hydrogen storage tanks using 3M Glass Bubbles—high-strength, low-density hollow glass microspheres.

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About 3M
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily as our employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to global challenges at or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews.

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