While the battery is charging, a low-cost battery-powered device captures carbon dioxide

While the battery is charging, a low-cost battery-powered device captures carbon dioxide ...

Researchers have developed a low-cost program that can selectively capture carbon dioxide gas while it charges. After that, the CO2 can be released in a controlled manner and collected to be reused or disposed of responsibly.

The supercapacitor, which is similar to a rechargeable battery, is the size of a two-pence coin, which is made in part from sustainable materials, including coconut shells and seawater.

The supercapacitor, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, may help power carbon capture and storage technologies at a much lower cost. Around 35 billion tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere per year and solutions are urgently needed to address these emissions and address the climate crisis. The most advanced carbon capture technologies currently require huge amounts of energy and are expensive.

The supercapacitor comprises of two electrodes of positive and negative charge. In a study led by Trevor Binford while finishing his Masters degree at Cambridge, the team attempted alternating from a negative to a positive voltage to prolong the charging time from previous experiments. This improved the supercapacitors'' ability to capture carbon.

The study claims that by slowly changing the current between the plates, we can capture more than twice the amount of CO2 than previously. Dr Alexander Forse, from Cambridges'' Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, has been involved in the research.

Forse said the charging-discharging technique of our supercapacitor uses less energy than the amine heating process used today. During our next debate, we will discuss the exact mechanisms of CO2 capture and their scaling up.

The results are reported in the journal Nanoscale.

The main difference between a supercapacitor and a rechargeable battery is how the two devices store charge. A battery uses chemical reactions to store and release charge, whereas a supercapacitor does not rely on chemical reactions. Instead, it requires the movement of electrons between electrodes, giving it a longer lifespan.

Supercapacitors aren''t capable of carrying as much charge as batteries, but this would be beneficial to the environment, according to the co-author. The best part is that the materials used to fabricate supercapacitors are cheap and plentiful. The electrodes are made of carbon, which is formed from waste coconut shells.

We want to create materials that are inert, that do not harm the environment, and that we need to eliminate them less often. For example, the CO2 dissolves into a water-based electrolyte, which is basically seawater.

This supercapacitor does not absorb CO2 spontaneously: it must be charging to draw in CO2. While noting that other emissions, such as oxygen, nitrogen, and water, do not help climate change. Using this technique, the supercapacitor both captures carbon and conserves energy.

Dr Israel Temprano, the author of the project, developed a gas analysis technique for the device. The results from Temprano''s contribution help narrow down the exact mechanism at play inside the supercapacitor when CO2 is absorbed and released. Before the supercapacitor can be scaled up, understanding these mechanisms, the potential losses, and the consequences of degradation.

According to Temprano, this field of research is very new, so the exact mechanism working inside the supercapacitor is still unknown.

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