When it comes to carbon capture and storage, scientists have creatively transformed carbon dioxide into everything from CO to oxalic acid to treat rare earth elements. Now it seems that they are going back to their source, which makes it solid coal.
In a world first breakthrough, a research group led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, has developed a new technique that can convert CO 2 back into carbon particles, reducing pollution by removing greenhouse gases from our environment .
The solution provides a more viable approach than many of today's CO2 capture and storage systems that compress CO 2 into a liquid form for the purpose of injecting it underground. These approaches have many technical and safety issues and are also very expensive.
"While we cannot literally return time, carbon dioxide remains in coal and bury it back in the ground, is a bit like flushing the discharge clock," said Dr. Torben Daeneke, RMIT researcher and .
"To date, CO 2 has only been transformed into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially impervious.
The new technique is an electrochemical, consisting of a specially designed liquid metal catalyst that sees carbon dioxide from gas slowly converted to solid carbon flakes.
"By using liquid metals as a catalyst, we have been able to convert the gas back to carbon at room temperature in an efficient process. and scalable, "said Daeneke.
" While more research is needed, it is a crucial first step in delivering solid carbon storage. "[1
Even better, the researchers say that the carbon produced could also be used as an electrode.
"An advantage of the process is that the carbon can hold an electric charge, become a supercapacitor, so it could potentially be used as a component of future vehicles," says lead author, Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh, Rector of Research School of Engineering at RMIT's School of Engineering.
"The process also produces synthetic fuel as a by-product which could also have industrial applications."
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.