1. News

Decarbonization Tech Quickly Converts CO2 into Solid Carbon

Decarbonization is a huge technical problem for heavy industries like cement and steel, which are not only energy-intensive but also emit CO2 directly throughout the manufacturing process.

Shivam Dwivedi
Picture of Solid Carbon
Picture of Solid Carbon

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, developed a carbon dioxide utilization technique that can be seamlessly integrated into existing industrial processes. Australian researchers have created a sophisticated and super-efficient new method of absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it to solid carbon.

Decarbonization is a huge technical problem for heavy industries like cement and steel, which are not only energy-intensive but also emit CO2 directly throughout the manufacturing process. The research is published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

Research Insights:

The new technology provides a way to transform carbon dioxide as it is produced and permanently freeze it in a solid-state, preventing CO2 from entering the environment.

Associate Professor Torben Daeneke, a co-lead researcher, said the research built on an earlier experimental approach that employed liquid metals as a catalyst.

"Our new technology still uses liquid metals," Daeneke said, "but the design has been tweaked for easier incorporation into normal industrial processes."

"Not only is the new technology easier to scale up, but it is also drastically more efficient, converting CO2 to carbon in an instant."

"We think that this will be a crucial new instrument in the decarbonization push, assisting companies and governments in meeting their climate goals and bringing us radically closer to net zero."

How does Technology Work?

In developing the novel CCS technology, the RMIT team used thermal chemistry processes commonly used by industry, according to main author and Ph.D. researcher Karma Zuraiqi.

The liquid metal is heated to roughly 100-120C in the "bubble column" process. Carbon dioxide is pumped into the liquid metal, causing gas bubbles to rise up like champagne bubbles. The gas molecule splits up into flakes of solid carbon as the bubbles flow through the liquid metal, and the reaction takes only a fraction of a second.

"Where so many alternative approaches have struggled, it's the amazing speed of the chemical reaction we've achieved that makes our technology commercially viable," Chiang added.

In partnership with industry partner ABR, the next step in the research is to scale up the proof-of-concept to a modularized prototype the size of a shipping container. The RMIT technique, according to ABR Project Director David Ngo, transforms a waste product into a key constituent in the future generation of cement blends.

"Ideally, the carbon we produce might be transformed into a value-added commodity, contributing to the circular economy and allowing CCS to pay for itself over time," says the researcher.

Jonathan Clarke-Hannaford, Billy James Murdoch, Associate Professor Kalpit Shah, and Professor Michelle Spencer from RMIT were co-authors on the study, which involved a multi-disciplinary collaboration across engineering and science.

(Source: RMIT University)

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters