New Process Steps Up the Value of CO2 | AIChE

New Process Steps Up the Value of CO2


A new development could make electric vehicles not just carbon neutral but possibly carbon negative.

Engineers at Vanderbilt Univ. and George Washington Univ. have developed a process to convert CO2 in the atmosphere to carbon materials that function as efficient anodes in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. The method involves a solar-powered process that turns CO2 into carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which are then incorporated into Li-ion batteries.

“This approach not only produces better batteries, but it also establishes a value for carbon dioxide recovered from the atmosphere that is associated with the end-user battery cost,” says Cary Pint, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt Univ. “This is unlike most efforts to reuse CO2 that are aimed at low-valued fuels, like methanol, that cannot justify the cost required to produce them.”

The scientists modified a process they developed previously — the solar thermal electrochemical...

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