A revolutionary new carbon filter device that can operate on gases of any concentration can be an essential tool in combating climate change.
The & # 39; paradigm shifting & # 39; The approach can get carbon from everything from emissions from power plants to open air with concentrations of just 400 parts per million.
Existing carbon dioxide extractors have usually only worked on the high concentrations that are found in exhaust gases from power plants.
Previous approaches based on the low concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, on the other hand, were expensive and energy intensive.
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A revolutionary new carbon filter device that can operate on gases of any concentration can be an essential tool in combating climate change. The device is in operation. During the charging cycle, soil, CO2 (red) is captured on the electrodes, leaving filtered oxygen (blue) from the device. Pure CO2 is released when discharged
Chemical engineers Sahag Voskian and T. Alan Hatton of the Massachussets Institute of Technology have developed the carbon capture approach, which works by filtering the air through a stack of specially loaded plates.
In its operating principle, the device is somewhat like a battery – but one that absorbs carbon dioxide that flows over its electrodes during charging and then releases the collected greenhouse gas when it discharges.
During the charging cycle, carbon dioxide from the gas inlet readily reacts with the device electrodes, each of which is covered with carbon nanotubes coupled to a compound called polyanthraquinone.
When the battery discharges – releasing power that helps the entire system to work – the reaction is reversed and a stream of carbon dioxide is released.
In practice, multiple devices can be run in complementary charging / discharging cycles, with carbon dioxide emissions free to be recycled for applications such as carbonated carbonated beverages or feed plants grown in greenhouses.
Alternatively, the collected greenhouse gas can be sequestered underground or converted to a new fuel source if desired.
IS CARBON CAPTURE A GOOD IDEA?
The appeal of carbon capture solutions is that they can help to maintain activities as usual and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, some experts have argued that these concepts generally do more harm than good.
For these critics, reducing total emissions is more important.
& # 39; Even if you have 100% capture of the capture equipment, it is even worse from a social cost perspective than replacing a coal or gas plant with a wind farm & # 39 ;, Stanford University environmental engineer Mark Z. Jacobson said. the other world.
& # 39; Carbon capture never reduces air pollution and always has costs for capture equipment.
& # 39; Wind replacement fossil fuels always reduce air pollution and never cost capture equipment. & # 39;
& # 39; The biggest advantage of this technology over most other carbon capture or carbon absorbing technologies is the binary nature of the affinity of the carbon dioxide adsorbent, & # 39; said Dr. Voskian.
This means that the plates either react very strongly with the greenhouse gas or not at all, depending on whether the battery is being charged or discharged.
& # 39; Due to this binary affinity, carbon dioxide can be captured from any concentration, including 400 parts per million, and can be released into any transport stream, including 100 percent CO2, & # 39; said Dr. Voskian.
& # 39; All of this is done under ambient conditions – there is no need for thermal, pressure or chemical input. It is only these very thin sheets, with both surfaces active, that can be stacked in a box and connected to an electricity source. & # 39;
& # 39; This carbon dioxide capture technology is a clear demonstration of the power of electrochemical approaches that only require small voltage fluctuations to drive the separations & # 39 ;, Professor Hatton added.
The device uses only one gigajoule of energy for every tonne of carbon dioxide captured, making it energy efficient compared to the 1–10 gigajoules – depending on the intake concentration – used by alternative approaches.
The & # 39; paradigm shifting & # 39; The approach can get carbon from everything from emissions from power stations in the photo to outside air with concentrations of just 400 parts per million
The duo has demonstrated in their laboratory that the device can withstand more than 7,000 charge / discharge cycles with only a 30 percent loss in efficiency.
The researchers are also optimistic that they can improve the life of the electrodes to cover around 20,000-50,000 cycles.
After their first study, the researchers set up a company – called Verdox – with which they want to commercialize the process.
The company is striving to have a pilot-scale factory within the next few years, Dr. Said said. Voskian.
He added: & # 39; If you want more capacity, you just have to make more electrodes. & # 39;
The full findings of the study were published in the journal Energy and environmental sciences.
WHAT IS CARBON CAPTURING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) captures emissions that are produced through the use of fossil fuels in electricity production and industrial processes.
It is intended to prevent carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and can capture up to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit.
The use of CCS with renewable biomass is one of the few carbon reduction technologies that can be used in a & # 39; carbon negative & # 39; mode – where carbon dioxide is actually extracted from the atmosphere.
The process consists of three parts – capturing carbon dioxide; transport of the carbon dioxide; and the safe storage of carbon dioxide emissions.
These can be stored underground in depleted oil and gas fields or deep salt water formations.
Carbon capture technologies allow the separation of carbon dioxide and gases produced during electricity generation and industrial processes in one of three ways: capture before combustion; relief after incineration; and oxyfuel combustion.
Carbon dioxide is then transported by pipeline or by ship for safe storage. Millions of tons of carbon dioxide are already being transported annually for commercial purposes by tankers, ships and pipelines.
The carbon dioxide is then stored in carefully selected geological rock formation that is usually located a few kilometers below the earth's surface.
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