A New Device Turns Carbon Dioxide into Fuel

A New Device Turns Carbon Dioxide into Fuel

Did you know that activities that release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air are causing global warming? But what if there was a way to turn that harmful gas into fuel? Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a new system that does just that!

What is Carbon Dioxide?

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is released into the air when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It is a greenhouse gas, which means it traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

The New System

The MIT researchers have created a system that has two parts. The first part converts the CO2 in the air into a molecule called a formate salt. This salt contains carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. The second part of the system uses this formate salt to power a fuel cell, which can produce electricity.

Advantages of Formate

Formate salts have as much energy as hydrogen, but they are safer and don’t need to be stored at high pressure. The MIT researchers mixed the formate salt with water and fed it into the fuel cell. Inside the fuel cell, a chemical reaction occurred, releasing electrons that created a circuit. These flowing electrons produced electricity, which ran for 200 hours in their experiment.

Scaling Up the Technology

The MIT team believes that they can scale up this new technology within a decade. To do this, they need to find abundant sources of lye, which is a key ingredient in the process. They are looking at a type of rock called alkali basalt that can be turned into lye when mixed with water.

The Promise of Formate

Formate has the potential to be a valuable product that can offset the cost of capturing CO2 from the air. While there are other methods of capturing CO2, such as turning it into baking soda or storing it underground, this new technology shows promise in turning CO2 into a usable fuel.

The World Takes a Stand: Transitioning Away from Fossil Fuels

The Future of Fuel

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the best way to combat climate change. However, capturing carbon, like with this new technology, will be necessary in industries that are hard to decarbonize, such as steel and cement plants. The MIT researchers also see the advantage of combining their new technology with solar and wind power to store energy for longer periods of time.

So, in the future, we might be able to turn harmful CO2 into a useful fuel source. It’s not as exciting as finding gold, but it could be a valuable inheritance for future generations!

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