A breakthrough technology demonstrated by engineers at University of Delaware can effectively seize 99% carbon dioxide present in air. The technology involves a new electrochemical system that receives energy from hydrogen.
The development of the technology is a significant progress for capture of CO2 and could bring more environment friendly fuel cells to the market. The reporting of the study is available in Nature Energy.
By function, fuel cells convert fuel chemical energy directly into electricity. Fuel cells can be used in transportation such as for hybrid or non-polluting vehicles.
In fact, for some time, the researcher behind the technology has been undertaking initiatives to improve the performance of hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells, which is a sustainable and environment friendly method for conventional acid-based fuels cells currently used.
However, the extreme sensitivity of hydroxide exchange membrane (HEM) fuel cells is a drawback that prevents them from becoming mainstream. They are highly responsive to carbon dioxide present in the air. The CO2 primarily makes hard for HEM fuel cell to respond.
This shortcoming quickly diminishes the performance and efficiency of the fuel cell and by up to 20%, resulting in the fuel cell to be no better than gasoline engine.
Meanwhile, for over 15 years, the research group has been looking a workaround for the CO2 conundrum.
Earlier, a few years ago, the researchers realized the disadvantage of HEM fuel cells to actually be a solution for CO2 removal.
The digging of HEM fuel cell mechanism revealed they were capturing just about every bit of CO2 that came in contact, and performed really well for separating it into the other side.
The property is not be good for fuel cell, if this built-in ‘self-purging’ process could be leveraged into a separate device upstream from the fuel cell stack, this could be turned it into a CO2 separator was known to the team.