MIT Scientists Create Battery Powered By CO2 Drawn From Air

MIT/courtesy of the researchers

Scientists at MIT used carbon dioxide to create a battery. This method could be a new source of renewable energy.

We Forum reports that researchers at MIT have created a battery powered by CO2 drawn from the air. CO2 is bad to breathe, heats up the atmosphere, and makes the oceans and rain acidic. Carbon dioxide is also a form of fuel. The CO2 produced from burning fossil fuel is one way to mitigate climate change, but there has been no practical or profitable way for people to do so. This battery could help use up the extra CO2 in a clean way.

An article published by Betar Gallant and her team in Joule came up with the idea to use CO2 for good. They would take CO2 gas and bond it with an amine-based solution, thus turning the gas into a liquid. The anode of the battery, which receives electrons, was made of lithium and the cathode, which provides electrons, was made of carbon. The battery system used CO2 to generate electricity and also produced recycled amines that could again be loaded with CO2.

The system avoids the expensive process of separating amines and CO2, such as in the regular carbon-capture processes. The battery would be more sustainable and practical, and could be installed in power plants.

The researchers said that “lithium-carbon dioxide batteries are years away” from being used in power plants. “Future challenges will include developing systems with higher amine turnover to approach near-continuous operation or long cycle life, and to increase the capacity attainable at higher powers.”

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