Cambridge Scientists Develop Energy-Efficient Method To Capture CO2 Using Activated Charcoal

Cambridge Scientists Develop Energy-Efficient Method To Capture CO2 Using Activated Charcoal - Carbon Herald

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient method to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air by charging activated charcoal, commonly used in household water filters, similar to how a battery is charged.

Led by Dr. Alexander Forse from the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, the team found that this “charged charcoal sponge” requires lower temperatures to release the captured CO2 for storage, making it more energy-efficient than current methods.

Unlike other materials that need to be heated to temperatures up to 900°C (1,652°F), the charged charcoal only requires heating to 90-100°C, which can be achieved using renewable electricity.

Dr. Forse emphasized that while reducing carbon emissions is the priority, greenhouse gas removal is also essential to reach net-zero emissions and mitigate climate change impacts.

“Realistically, we’ve got to do everything we can,” he said in a statement published Wednesday by the University of Cambridge.

Relevant: University of Guelph Awarded $31.8M In Federal Funding For Innovative Carbon Capture Research

Dr. Forse described the method as a “crazy idea” developed during the Covid-19 lockdowns, which has the potential to create various energy-efficient materials for different applications.

Namely, the approach could be valuable in fields beyond carbon capture, as the charcoal’s pores and the inserted ions can be precisely adjusted to capture various molecules, not just CO2.

Despite its promise, the method has limitations, and further research is needed to enhance the amount of CO2 that can be captured.

With a patent already filed, the research is being commercialized through Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialization arm.

The study, published in the prestigious journal Nature, received support from the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Cambridge Centre for Climate Repair.

Read more: SINTEF Launches New Carbon Capture Research Project

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