Decarbonization technology instantly converts CO2 to solid carbon

Environment

Technological Innovation Website Editor – 01/19/2022

decarbonize technology

Demonstration prototype, with the liquid metal column inserted into a heater. On the right, the column is already filled with solid carbon.
[Imagem: RMIT University]

CO coaltwo

Australian researchers have developed a new way to capture carbon dioxide (COtwo) and convert it to solid carbon, eliminating one of the biggest problems in carbon sequestration and storage technologies.

In addition, direct CO conversion technologytwo from gas to solid was designed to be integrated into existing industrial processes, with an eye on the decarbonization of heavy industries.

Decarbonization is a huge technical challenge for industries such as cement and steel, which not only consume a lot of energy, but also directly emit COtwo into the atmosphere as part of its production process.

liquid metal

The new technology offers a way to instantly convert carbon dioxide as it is produced and permanently lock it in a solid state, keeping greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere.

The work built on a previous experimental approach by the same team, which used a liquid metal as a catalyst.

“Our new method still harnesses the power of liquid metals, but the design has been modified for smoother integration into standard industrial processes,” said Professor Torben Daeneke of RMIT University. “In addition to being simpler to scale, the new technology is radically more efficient and can break down COtwo into carbon in an instant.”

decarbonize technology

The principle is simple, allowing the process to use the gas that would go down the chimneys of the industry.
[Imagem: Karma Zuraiqi et al. – 10.1039/d1ee03283f]

CO conversiontwo from gas to slide

The technique works inside a column, in which the liquid metal is initially kept at a temperature between 100 and 120 °C.

Carbon dioxide is injected at the bottom of the column, rising through the liquid metal like bubbles in a glass of champagne.

As the bubbles move through the liquid metal, the gas molecule splits, forming flakes of solid carbon, in a chemical reaction that takes only a fraction of a second.

“It’s the extraordinary speed of the chemical reaction we’ve achieved that makes our technology commercially viable, where so many alternative approaches have had problems,” said Professor Ken Chiang.

industrial use

The next step in the research will be to scale up the proof of concept, on a laboratory scale, to a modular prototype the size of a container. For this, the team has already attracted the attention of an industrial partner, which intends to use the process in the manufacture of cement.

The team is also investigating possible applications for the converted carbon, particularly in building materials.

“Ideally, the carbon we produce could be turned into a value-added product, contributing to the circular economy and allowing carbon capture and storage technology to pay for itself over time,” said Daeneke.

Bibliography:

Article: Direct Conversion of CO2 to Solid Carbon by Liquid Metals
Authors: Karma Zuraiqi, Ali Zavabeti, Jonathan Clarke-Hannaford, Billy James Murdoch, Kalpit Shah, Michelle JS Spencer, Chris F. McConville, Torben Daeneke, Ken Chiang
Magazine: Energy & Environmental Science
DOI: 10.1039/d1ee03283f

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