CO2 conversion process offers new route to CCS

Researchers have developed a method to capture carbon dioxide and convert it to solid carbon, an advance that could help decarbonize heavy industries.

The carbon dioxide utilization technology from RMIT researchers in Australia is designed to be integrated into existing industrial processes for heavy industries such as cement and steel, which are energy intensive and emit CO2 as part of the manufacturing process.

The new technology is said to provide a pathway for instantaneously converting carbon dioxide as it is produced and permanently trapping it in a solid state, keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere. The research was published in Energy and Environmental Sciences.

Co-investigator Associate Professor Torben Daeneke said the work built on an earlier experimental approach that used liquid metals as a catalyst.

Humber Zero: decarbonising an industrial cluster

“Our new method still uses the power of liquid metals, but the design has been modified for smoother integration into standard industrial processes,” Daeneke said in a statement. “The new technology is not only easier to scale up, but also radically more efficient and can break down CO2 into carbon in the blink of an eye.”

A preliminary patent application has been filed for the technology, and the researchers have signed a $2.6 million agreement with Australian environmental technology company ABR, which commercializes technologies to decarbonise the cement and steel industries.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have largely focused on compressing CO2 into a liquid and injecting it underground. The Australian Government has identified CCS as a priority technology for investment in its net zero planannouncing a $1 billion fund to develop new low-emission technologies.

PhD researcher Karma Zuraiqi with liquid metal at the heart of new carbon dioxide utilization technology (Image: RMIT)

Daeneke, a DECRA Fellow from the Australian Research Council, said the new approach offered a sustainable alternative, aiming to avoid carbon emissions and deliver value-added carbon reuse.

The RMIT team, with lead author and PhD researcher Karma Zuraiqi, used thermal chemical methods used by industry to develop their CCS technology.

The so-called bubble column method starts with heating liquid metal – eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) to about 100-120°C. Carbon dioxide is injected into the liquid metal, and as the rising bubbles move through the liquid metal, the gas molecule splits up to form flakes of solid carbon, the reaction taking a fraction of a second.

“It’s the extraordinary speed of the chemical reaction we’ve achieved that makes our technology commercially viable where so many alternative approaches have struggled,” said co-lead researcher Dr. Ken Chiang.

The next step in the research is to scale up the proof-of-concept in collaboration with ABR to a modular prototype the size of a sea container.

Abhishek Maheswari
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

The Bihar Engineering