Two researchers from Cornell University recently put forward research describing their development of an aluminum-based electrochemical cell that has the potential to capture carbon emissions while simultaneously generating electricity.
Globally, carbon dioxide is the number one contributor to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions accelerate climate change, leading to such devastating effects as rising sea levels that can dislocate families and radical local climates that hurt food production levels.
(MORE: Read past meeting abstracts by co-author of the research, Lynden A. Archer, for free.)
While there have been efforts to reduce the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere, the current levels are still far too high. Because of this, some researchers – including the duo from Cornell – have turned their attention to capturing carbon.
This from Phys.org:
To create a cell that removes carbon dioxide, researchers have tried using magnesium, lithium or sodium as an anode—the results to date have worked to some extent, but they produce carbonates, which are not very useful. To get around that problem, the researchers instead used aluminum foil to make the anode—the cathode was made of stainless steel mesh and an ionic liquid with some aluminum chloride salt in it was used as the electrolyte.
Their initial data shows that the cells can generate up to 13 ampere-hours for every gram of carbon captured.
Unfortunately, the cell does not work is water is present in the mix of gases it is trying to capture, but the team believes this issue can be solved through utilization of a new electrolyte.