Researchers from UNIST developed a hybrid Na-CO2 cell that can continuously produces electrical energy and hydrogen through efficient CO2 conversion
A team of researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) developed a system that generates electricity and hydrogen and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2). The research was led by Professor Guntae Kim in the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST. The research published in the journal iScience on November 01, 2018 describes hybrid Na-CO2 system that can continuously generate electrical energy and hydrogen through efficient CO2 conversion. Moreover, the process is capable of operating for over 1,000 hours from spontaneous CO2 dissolution in aqueous solution.
Majority of CO2 emissions are absorbed by the ocean and turned into acidity. The team focused on this phenomenon and developed an approach of melting CO2 into water in order to induce an electrochemical reaction. Increase in acidity leads to increase in the number of protons, which in turn leads to high power for attracting electrons. A battery system based on this phenomenon can help to produce electricity by removing CO2. The new hybrid Na-CO2 system is similar to a fuel cell and contains a cathode of sodium metal, separator (NASICON), and anode as a catalyst. As opposed to other batteries, catalysts are contained in water and a lead wire connects them to a cathode. Injection of CO2 into the water starts the entire reaction, which eliminates CO2 and produces electricity and hydrogen. According to the researchers, the conversion efficiency of CO2 is high at 50%.
According to Jeongwon Kim in the Combined M.S/Ph.D. in Energy Engineering at UNIST, the co-first author for the research, the hybrid Na-CO2 cell adopts efficient Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technologies as it utilizes CO2 as the resource for generating electrical energy and produces hydrogen, a clean energy source. Moreover, the system demonstrated stability to the point of operating for over 1,000 hours without damage to electrodes. The system can be used to remove CO2 by inducing voluntary chemical reactions.
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