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Researchers Turn Carbon Emissions into Usable Energy

With the "Hybrid Na-CO2" System, the conversion efficiency of CO2 is high at 50 per cent at this time

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EMission, carbon dioxide
Researchers turn carbon emissions into usable energy. VOA

A team of researchers has developed a system that produces electricity and hydrogen while eliminating carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main contributor of global warming.

The team from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea created a “Hybrid Na-CO2” system that can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen through efficient CO2 conversion, with stable operation for over 1,000 hour without any damage to electrodes.

“The key to that technology is the easy conversion of chemically stable CO2 molecules to other materials. Our new system has solved this problem with CO2 dissolution mechanism,” said Professor Guntae Kim from the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST.

Much of human CO2 emissions are absorbed by the ocean and turned into acidity.

Car Emissions, carbon dioxide
Morning rush hour traffic makes its way along US 101 near downtown Los Angeles, California, Nov. 15, 2016. VOA

The researchers focused on this phenomenon and came up with the idea of melting CO2 into water to induce an electrochemical reaction.

If acidity increases, the number of protons increases, which in turn increases the power to attract electrons.

If a battery system is created based on this phenomenon, electricity can be produced by removing CO2.

Also Read- Chronic Doctor Shortage Affecting Delhi Government-run Hospitals

With the “Hybrid Na-CO2” System, the conversion efficiency of CO2 is high at 50 per cent at this time.

“This hybrid Na-CO2 cell not only utilises CO2 as the resource for generating electrical energy but also produces the clean energy source, hydrogen,” said Jeongwon Kim from UNIST in a paper published in the journal iScience. (IANS)

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Arctic permafrost may unleash carbon within decades: NASA

Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis, so increased plant growth means less carbon in the atmosphere

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NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Develop First Gateway Element
NASA seeks US partners to develop reusable systems for Moon mission, Pixabay
  • Permafrost in Northern Arctic can potentially become a permanent source of Carbon
  • It was previously thought to be safe from the effects of Global Warming
  • Rising temperature in the Arctic can cause severe carbon emissions

Permafrost in the coldest northern Arctic — formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment — could thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in a few decades, warns a NASA-led study. This will happen in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years, said the study.

Permafrost in Northern Arctic can become a permanent source of carbon in this century itself, according to NASA. Wikimedia Commons
Permafrost in Northern Arctic can become a permanent source of carbon in this century itself, according to NASA. Wikimedia Commons

Permafrost is soil that has remained frozen for years or centuries under topsoil. It contains carbon-rich organic material, such as leaves, that froze without decaying, NASA said in a statement on Tuesday.

As rising Arctic air temperatures cause permafrost to thaw, the organic material decomposes and releases its carbon to the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

The researchers calculated that as thawing continues, by the year 2300, total carbon emissions from the coldest northern Arctic will be 10 times as much as all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in 2016.

Warmer, more southerly permafrost regions will not become a carbon source until the end of the 22nd century, even though they are thawing now, said the study led by scientist Nicholas Parazoo of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

That is because other changing Arctic processes will counter the effect of thawing soil in these regions.

The finding that the colder region would transition sooner than the warmer one came as a surprise, according to Parazoo. The researchers used data on soil temperatures in Alaska and Siberia and a numerical model that calculates changes in carbon emissions as plants grow and permafrost thaws in response to climate change.

They assessed when the Arctic will transition to a carbon source instead of the carbon-neutral area it is today — with some processes removing about as much carbon from the atmosphere as other processes emit.

World is under threat due to Global Warming. Wikimedia Commons

They divided the Arctic into two regions of equal size, a colder northern region and a warmer, more southerly belt encircling the northern region. There is far more permafrost in the northern region than in the southern one.

Over the course of the model simulations, northern permafrost lost about five times more carbon per century than southern permafrost.

The southern region transitioned more slowly in the model simulations, Parazoo said, because plant growth increased much faster than expected in the south.

Also Read: Global warming portends ill for India’s flourishing Dairy sector: Experts

Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis, so increased plant growth means less carbon in the atmosphere.

According to the model, as the southern Arctic grows warmer, increased photosynthesis will balance increased permafrost emissions until the late 2100s. IANS