A new device resembles a rechargeable battery and partially captures CO2 emissions while charging and discharging. This carbon capture device, which is the size of a two-pence coin, could help us tackle climate change by collecting CO2 in a responsible manner. The supercapacitor technology used in the device is made from sustainable resources and may help power carbon capture technologies.
Carbon capture and storage technologies
The process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is known as carbon capture and storage. This technology has been used at industrial sites since the 1970s, but has recently been applied to power generation. In this method, fuel is gasified instead of burned to generate electricity. The result is a carbon-dioxide-rich exhaust gas. The carbon dioxide is then transported and stored in deep geological formations. The process is almost emissions-free, and the carbon dioxide produced is converted to usable energy. The carbon dioxide is then transported by pipelines. As of today, there are more than four thousand miles of pipelines that transport carbon dioxide in the United States alone, but more are needed.
Supercapacitors, which are small, inexpensive battery-like devices that can selectively capture carbon dioxide while charging and releasing it once discharged, have been developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge. Supercapacitors are similar to rechargeable batteries and are made from sustainable materials, such as coconut shells or seawater. They are used to provide energy to carbon capture and storage technologies while using a fraction of the energy needed by modern carbon capture methods.
Subsidies could help bridge the gap
Recent legislative proposals seek to boost existing subsidies for solar power, plug-in passenger vehicles, and battery-like devices. These proposals would also strengthen incentives for domestic manufacturing of batteries and other clean technologies. In addition, Congress is likely to consider new subsidies to help bridge the gap between low-cost battery-like devices and reduced CO2 emissions. The Biden administration has set a target of cutting GHG emissions in 2030 to half those of 2005.
In addition to these policies, other technologies are expected to reduce CO2 emissions and cost-effectiveness. However, the effectiveness of subsidies will depend on behavioral responses. While battery-like devices are expected to lower CO2 emissions, subsidies will likely only help those who would have bought electric vehicles anyway. However, subsidies could help bridge the gap between low-cost battery-like devices and CO2 emissions if they’re used in combination with renewable energy sources.
Scaling up manufacturing
The researchers have developed a device that can selectively capture CO2 emissions while charging and discharging. The device will then release the CO2 in a controlled manner, allowing it to be disposed of responsibly or reused. Like a rechargeable battery, the device is the size of a two-cent coin and is made from environmentally-friendly materials.