A groundbreaking innovation has been achieved in carbon capture technology this week. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have designed a battery-like carbon capture device that takes away carbon dioxide from the air while charging.
The researchers have developed a low-cost device that can selectively capture carbon dioxide gas while it charges. When discharging, the device releases the CO2 in a controlled way which then can be collected for reuse or permanent storage.
The supercapacitor device is similar to a rechargeable battery and is about the size of a quarter. It is also made in part from sustainable materials like coconut shells and seawater. The low cost of the materials means the supercapacitor could help power carbon capture and storage technologies at a much more affordable way compared to currently available technologies.
The team led by Trevor Binford who is completing his Master’s degree at Cambridge also succeeded in extending the charging time of the supercapacitor from previous experiments which improved its ability to capture carbon.
“We found that that by slowly alternating the current between the plates we can capture double the amount of carbon dioxide than before,” said lead researcher Dr Alexander Forse.
He also added that the charging-discharging process of the supercapacitor potentially uses less energy than the amine heating process currently used in the industry now.
The team’s next step involves investigating the precise mechanisms of carbon dioxide capture and improving them. After that, the researchers plan to scale their carbon capture technology.
“This field of research is very new so the precise mechanism working inside the supercapacitor still isn’t known,” explained co-author Dr. Israel Temprano who contributed to the project.
The innovation of using a device that can capture carbon and could be made from sustainable and cheap materials is groundbreaking in the carbon capture sector. If successful, the project could lead the way in CO2 capture and change the course of the industry.