Carbon dioxide could be a new clean energy resource

August 21, 2013 0 By Bret Williams
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Researchers focus on carbon dioxide to generate clean energy

Researchers from Wetsus, a developer of sustainable water technologies, and the Wageningen University in the Netherlands may have found a way to generate electrical power by harnessing carbon dioxide emissions. These emissions have been targeted by several governments around the world and are the subject of emissions reduction initiatives that are becoming more popular. Carbon emissions are often considered to be a primary contributor to the climate change phenomenon, but Dutch researchers believe that these emissions could be harnessed to generate power through the process of electrolysis, which is the very process that is responsible for generating hydrogen fuel.

Process shows aptitude at generate clean energy

Researchers have developed a porous electrode that is meant to exploit the chemical reactions that can be generated with carbon dioxide. For their experiment, the research team flushed carbon dioxide into water in order to generate a reaction. The gas responded to the water and produced carbonic acid, which eventually becomes positive hydrogen ions and negative bicarbonate HCO3 ions. The team found that this process results in an excess electrical charge. Researchers suggest that this process could be a promising way to turn carbon dioxide into clean energy. Notably, carbon dioxide is consumed through this process, with no emissions being reintroduced to the environment.

Wageningen University - Clean Energy Carbon Dioxide ResearchResearchers work to find way to efficiently capture the energy potential of emissions

According to the research team, this process occurs regularly at the chimneys of most fossil-fuel power plants. The team does note that there is no way to exploit the energy capabilities of this process in an efficient manner, however, which has led the team to its current experimentations. Researchers suggest that their process could be the first step in harnessing the massive power potential that can be found in carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon emissions could be a valuable clean energy resource

Fossil-fuel power plants generate an estimated 12 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions on a yearly basis. Another 11 billion tons comes from homes and commercial heating facilities. If these emissions can be captured, as much as 1,750 terawatt-hours of electrical power could be generated annually, which is approximately 400 times more than then energy output of the Hoover Dam in the U.S.