Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a report on September 21, 2018 we just discovered on Science Daily. It has the remarkable by-line “Lithium-based battery could make use of greenhouse gas. Before it ever gets into the atmosphere”. This was the first time we came across the idea of a battery converting CO2 emissions from fossil power plants. Therefore this has us intrigued
A Battery Converting CO2 Could Replace Special Metal Catalysts
Until quite recently the world was content to allow CO2 from coal power stations and gas turbines to drift up into the atmosphere. More recently, the University of Delaware has been researching using bismuth metal to convert these emissions to industrial fuels and chemicals.
But the technology is still under development to harness bismuth’s special capability the researchers call “catalytic plasticity”. In simple terms it harnesses a “chemical spark” to achieve the conversion. Furthermore, the process involves a bismuth film in a bath of salty liquids containing imidazolium and amidinium ions. Hence the prospect of a battery converting CO2 directly could be a simpler solution.
However Much Work Is Still Necessary to Achieve This
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology battery is made from lithium metal, carbon, and a ‘new form of electrolyte’. The scientists hope this will replace current “carbon scrubbing” technology that consumes up to 30% of coal power station energy.
Therefore, they are following leads on how carbon-dioxide-capture chemistry could produce carbon-dioxide-loaded electrolyte.
If so, they believe the captured gas “would provide a power output during the discharge cycle”. This appears to be a giant step forward, when compared to storing captured CO2 underground.
The scanning electron microscope image shows the carbon cathode of a carbon-dioxide-based battery after discharging the battery.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists believe their battery converting CO2 “could be used in the power plant waste stream”. In this way, they could make one of the main components of a battery without the CO2 ever entering the atmosphere.
Preview Image: Taiwan’s 5,500 MW Taichung Power Plant