Researchers at MIT have discovered an innovative electrochemical process that can both capture and convert carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This breakthrough could have significant implications for reducing emissions in industries that are difficult to decarbonize, such as steel and cement manufacturing.
The current methods for capturing and converting CO2 typically involve separate processes that require large amounts of energy. In contrast, the MIT team has developed a single, integrated system that is more energy-efficient and could potentially operate using renewable energy sources.
The researchers found that the key to the electrochemical reaction lies in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide. The higher the concentration of CO2 in contact with the electrode, the more efficiently it can be captured and converted into a reusable form.
While this electrochemical system may not be suitable for capturing and converting CO2 from the air, it is well-suited for highly concentrated emissions produced by industrial processes. This technology could provide a necessary solution for reducing emissions in industries that are challenging to decarbonize.
Lead author Betar Gallant, a professor at MIT, explains that while transitioning to renewable energy sources for electricity production is important, deeply decarbonizing industries like cement and steel will take time. This electrochemical system could provide a bridge solution to tackle emissions from these industries in the shorter term.
The MIT team is developing an electrode-based system that can recover captured CO2 and convert it into a usable product. By integrating the process, they aim to power the system entirely with renewable electricity, eliminating the need for fossil fuel-generated steam.
This innovative approach to carbon capture and conversion could revolutionize efforts to reduce emissions in challenging industrial sectors. It offers a more efficient and flexible solution that can be adapted to diverse sources of carbon dioxide.
– MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
– ACS Catalysis: Journal specialized in catalysis.
– ‘species’: In biology, a group of living organisms that share common characteristics and can produce offspring.