People Innovation Excellence

Electrochemical Cell Makes Electricity and Chemicals From CO2

Using aluminum and oxygen, new technology can convert carbon dioxide into useful chemicals and also generate substantial amounts of electrical energy, researchers say.

The large-scale adoption of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies is currently limited in part by how much energy it can take to capture carbon. In addition, methods to make the most of carbon dioxide once it gets stored by converting it into useful chemicals and fuels have proven difficult to develop.

But recently, chemical engineer Lynden Archer and his colleagues at Cornell University investigated whether electrochemical cells could both capture carbon dioxide and generate power. Such electrochemical cells, they hypothesized, would use a metal as the anode and mixed streams of carbon dioxide and oxygen as the active ingredients of the cathode. The electrochemical reactions between the anode and the cathode would sequester the carbon dioxide into carbon-rich compounds while also producing electricity.

Archer and his colleague Wajdi Al Sadat detailed their findings in the 20 July online edition of the journal Science Advances.

Previous research used lithium, sodium, and magnesium as the anodes in such electrochemical cells. These converted carbon dioxide into carbonates, “which are not that useful,…[Read more]


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