Researchers recently discovered a new way to store carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals using a a powdered, sugar-like substance called “dry water“. According to scientists at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, the novel material made from water and silica could potentially store large amounts of CO2.

The substance, which contains 95% water along with 5% modified silica (a component of beach sand), is a completely dry powder that can absorb gases like CO2 and methane. Dry water absorbs more than three times as much CO2 as regular water and silica, making it an ideal storage method.

That’s not all dry water is good for — the substance could also be used to collect and transport natural gas, speed up catalyzed reactions for manufacturing processes, and store potentially harmful liquids. Our only question: how did no one realize quite how useful this combination of water and beach sand was before?

Via Newswise