Following a research initiative, a team of researchers have developed an improved electrochemical system. The feature of this system is that it raises the value of captured CO2 by conversion into more valuable products than it was previously possible.
Meanwhile, The International Energy Agency recently quoted carbon capture and storage as one of the strategies that can help to keep global emissions low to limit global warming by 1.5C by 2050. The captured carbon, however, has little economic value, thereby reducing the incentives for organizations to invest in this technology.
To address this, a research team at the University of Toronto Engineering designed advanced electrolyzers. These use electrical energy to convert captured CO2 into petrochemical building blocks for commonly used everyday substances such as lycra and plastic. This is helping to create industrial use for captured carbon, and at the same time provides low-carbon substitute for fossil-fuel manufacturing processes that are used today.
In fact, the latest design created by the team can be operated in strong acidic conditions unlike previous systems. This reduces undesired side reactions and improve overall efficiency.
“On the other hand, in predecessor systems, it required to choose either to focus on the efficient use of carbon or efficient use of electrical energy, stated the senior author of the study published in Science. To provide a solution to this, the research team used a new design for the catalyst inside the electrolyzer. This was aimed at consuming a large fraction of the input carbon, and at the same time keep productivity good toward desired quality high-value products.