A global collaboration has demonstrated how liquid gallium can be used to help achieve the important goal of zero emissions net of carbon.
Engineers from UNSW (University of New South Wales) have led the investigation of a new inexpensive way to capture and convert CO2 emissions greenhouse using liquid metal.
The process can be done at room temperature and uses liquid gallium to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and a high-value solid carbon product that can then be used in batteries, or in aircraft construction or manufacturing.
The findings have been published in the journal Advanced Materials and the team led by Chemical Engineering professor Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh says the new technology has the potential to be used in a wide variety of ways to significantly reduce greenhouse gas levels. in the atmosphere.
“We see very robust industrial applications regarding decarbonization. This technology offers an unprecedented process to capture and convert CO2 at an exceptionally competitive cost, “Junma Tang, the first author of the article, said in a statement.
“We have already scaled this system to dimensions of two and a half liters, which can handle around 0.1 liter of CO2 per minute.”
“Applications could be in automobiles to convert polluting exhaust gases, or even on a much larger scale in industrial sites where CO2 emissions could be captured and immediately processed using this technology.” We have already scaled this system to dimensions of two liters and medium, which can handle about 0.1 liter of CO2 per minute. And we have tested it running continuously for a whole month and the efficiency of the system did not degrade. ”
The newly discovered process dissolves captured CO2 gas in a solvent around gallium nanoparticles, which exist in a liquid state above 30 degrees Celsius.
The reactor also contains nano-sized solid silver rods that are the key to generate the triboelectrochemical reactions that take place once mechanical energy is introduced (eg, stirring / mixing).
A triboelectrochemical reaction occurs at the solid-liquid interfaces due to friction between the two surfaces, and an electric field is also created that triggers a chemical reaction.
The reactions break down carbon dioxide into gaseous oxygen, as well as carbonaceous sheets that ‘float’ towards the surface of the container due to differences in density and can therefore be easily removed.
In his article, research team shows 92 percent efficiency in the conversion of a ton of CO2 as described, using only 230kWh of energy. They estimate that this equates to a cost of about $ 100 per ton of CO2.