A study carried out by Danish scientists, and published in the journal Chemical Science, may be of great relevance to the future of many chemical industries: they have created a crystalline material capable of absorbing and storing oxygen from the environment in large quantities, which can be released again in a controlled manner, whenever and wherever it is desired.

The key element of this material is cobalt, used to manufacture a new organic molecule specially designed for this function. The use of metals to interact with oxygen can also be seen in nature: humans and other species have iron; crustaceans and arachnids have copper… “Small amounts of some metal are essential for the absorption of oxygen, so it is not entirely surprising to see this effect in our new material”.

“In the laboratory we saw how this material took up oxygen from our surroundings,” explained Professor Christine McKenzie from the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark. According to her results, a bucket containing about 10 litres of the glass can absorb all the oxygen in a room.