Many people think carbon dioxide as a nonsense element and only contributed largely in the world’s growing climate change.
Researchers from an american university find a way to potentially take vast amounts of CO2 emitted into our atmosphere from fossil fuels and use it as an energy source for a revolutionary rechargeable battery.
In fact, billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted into our atmosphere each year by fossil fuels, and the resulting changes in our climate have driven a number of scientists to try and figure out how to protect our planet’s ecosystem.
With the increasing threat to the global warming, experts look for another potential solution one of which is to harvest the atmospheric CO2 and utilize chemistry to turn it into its own source of energy.
The CO2 to energy cell concept was a brainchild of researchers from Pennsylvania State University, who developed a rechargeable battery called a flow cell.
The said cell can be recharged with a water-based solution containing dissolved CO2.
Taken from fossil fuel power plants, the battery functions by taking advantage of the CO2 concentration difference between CO2 emissions and ambient air, which can ultimately be used to generate electricity.
The team’s paper was published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
The paper also explained that the CO2 and ambient air are dissolved in separate containers of an aqueous solution, in a process called sparging.
At the end of this process, the CO2-sparged solution forms bicarbonate ions, giving it a lower pH of 7.7, compared to the air-sparged solution with a pH of 9.4.
When injected into two flow channels that contain electrodes and a semi-porous membrane, the pH difference between the two solutions creates a voltage difference between the two electrodes, causing electrons to flow along a wire, connecting the pair.
Meanwhile, the team also said the recharging of the battery can be done through the channels. It can simply be switched so that the solutions flow through.
The extensive lab tests of the study have shown it to maintain performance over 50 charging cycles.
The battery’s average power density of 0.82 W/sq m makes it 200 times more powerful than any similar designs.
“This work offers an alternative, simpler means to capturing energy from CO2 emissions compared to existing technologies that require expensive catalyst materials and very high temperatures to convert CO2 into useful fuels,” Christopher Gorski told Phys.org.