UK researchers working to improve tech to remove CO2 from atmosphere

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 4:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Researchers at UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research are partnering with Vanderbilt University, LG&E and KU, and other institutions to improve technology to capture carbon directly from the atmosphere.

Through their research, the team is working to create technology that will bring in air to a special electrochemical solvent that is used to extract carbon dioxide and either store it or convert it into other byproducts.

While technology has been around to capture carbon, they’re trying to make it more efficient to help reduce it even more in the atmosphere.

“We do see that CO2, with energy input, can be a big stock that you can then upgrade into additional materials so that way you keep the carbon balance low,” Ayo Omosebi, research engineer at University of Kentucky.

Now, not only will this new technology help simplify the carbon capture process and reduce both capital and operational costs, they’ll also be able to produce hydrogen as a byproduct.

“You can use that to offset the cost of the capture. We’re looking at collaborations with the utilities where we actually use the hydrogen as a load management,” Omosebi said.

This means, when the device is operating below its peak, you can use it as energy storage, but during other times the hydrogen can even be reintroduced back into the carbon capture process.

“You can use it directly and just feed it back into the electrochemical regenerator to just reduce the energy penalty for that regenerator as well. So, there’s a lot of possible ways,” Omosebi said.

Along with creating the technology to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air, the team is also engineering ways for utilization and storage of the carbon dioxide once it’s captured.

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