MIT Researchers Create Battery Made from Carbon Dioxide Captured From Power Plants

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Researchers at the MIT have found a way to create batteries by using the carbon dioxide produced by power plants. These batteries capture the CO2 emissions before they even reach the atmosphere, which is not only practical but also environmentally friendly.

The battery can convert carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate when it discharges. These findings were published recently in the journal Joule, written by Betar Gallant, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, doctoral student Aliza Khurram, and postdoctoral Mingfu He.

Gallant explained that “carbon dioxide is not very reactive,” and that “trying to find new reaction pathways is important.”

Their research is now in its early phase, and it will be a long time until it gets commercially deployed, but the formulation will be vital in reducing the emission of the CO2 to the atmosphere and create a new carbon dioxide conversion reaction.

The battery was made of lithium metal, carbon, and an electrolyte designed by the researchers.

Lowering Power Plant Costs, Creating a New Type of Battery and Reducing CO2 Emissions

Power plants that have a carbon capture system use almost 30% of the electricity generated to capture, release and store carbon dioxide. The batteries will also help reduce the cost of the capture process, and will also be an end product that can be sold, and change the economics of power plants.

Researchers found a way to activate the carbon dioxide only by using a carbon electrode which was preactivated before – by being incorporated into an amine solution. Gallant explains their findings:

“What we’ve shown for the first time is that this technique activates the carbon dioxide for more facile electrochemistry. These two chemistries — aqueous amines and nonaqueous battery electrolytes — are not normally used together, but we found that their combination imparts new and interesting behaviors that can increase the discharge voltage and allow for sustained conversion of carbon dioxide.”

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere