Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 6119–6138 | Cite as

Fighting global warming by greenhouse gas removal: destroying atmospheric nitrous oxide thanks to synergies between two breakthrough technologies

  • Tingzhen Ming
  • Renaud de_RichterEmail author
  • Sheng Shen
  • Sylvain Caillol
Review Article


Even if humans stop discharging CO2 into the atmosphere, the average global temperature will still increase during this century. A lot of research has been devoted to prevent and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the atmosphere, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is one of the technologies that might help to limit emissions. In complement, direct CO2 removal from the atmosphere has been proposed after the emissions have occurred. But, the removal of all the excess anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 will not be enough, due to the fact that CO2 outgases from the ocean as its solubility is dependent of its atmospheric partial pressure. Bringing back the Earth average surface temperature to pre-industrial levels would require the removal of all previously emitted CO2. Thus, the atmospheric removal of other greenhouse gases is necessary. This article proposes a combination of disrupting techniques to transform nitrous oxide (N2O), the third most important greenhouse gas (GHG) in terms of current radiative forcing, which is harmful for the ozone layer and possesses quite high global warming potential. Although several scientific publications cite “greenhouse gas removal,” to our knowledge, it is the first time innovative solutions are proposed to effectively remove N2O or other GHGs from the atmosphere other than CO2.


Greenhouse gas removal Solar chimney power plant Photocatalytic reduction Photocatalytic reactor Negative emission technology Cutting down atmospheric N2O concentration to protect the ozone layer and lessen global warming 



Carbon capture and sequestration


Carbon dioxide removal




Greenhouse gas


Global warming


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


metal organic framework


Nitrous oxide


Photocatalytic reactor


Solar chimney power plant



This research work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China 51106060) and in part by the Energy Saving of Wuhan MRT under Operation. The co-authors of this article would like to express their thanks to the two anonymous reviewers, for providing insightful comments and constructive advice that substantially improved the technicality of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier − UMR5253 CNRS-UM2 − ENSCM-UM1 – Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de MontpellierMontpellier Cedex 5France
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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