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New Breakthrough Technology to Remove 99% of CO2 From the Air
New breakthrough technology to remove 99% of CO2 from the air, led by Professor Yushan Yan, an innovative team of engineers from the University of Delaware demonstrated to have figured out an effective way of capturing up to 99% of CO2 from surrounding air. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is and has been for a long time, the highest emitted greenhouse gas that’s as a result of human activity.
While the automotive and transportation industries are one of the largest beneficiaries of burning fossil fuels, they are also the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. Historically, there have always been ways of trying to curb CO2 emissions and minimize their effects on the environment. But if the University of Delaware discovery is anything to go by, it will by far be one of the most effective ways of capturing carbon dioxide emissions.
How the New Tech from University of Delaware to Capture CO2 Works
One of the greatest selling points of this new tech is the fact that it’s designed to capture carbon dioxide emissions directly from the source. Given that motor vehicles make for one of the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, this carbon-capture prototype device from the University of Delaware is designed to be fitted right on the vehicle exhaust.
Using a hydrogen-powered electrochemical setup, the prototype comprises a multilayered can-sized cell. The cell, which is about 5 centimetres by 5 centimetres, works by continuously filtering out about 99% of carbon dioxide from the air, with a working airflow rate of about two litres per minute. In an earlier but rather bulkier prototype implementation, the system had an efficiency rate of removing up to 98% of carbon dioxide from the air, with an airflow rate of about 10 litres per minute. This current compact setup got rid of all the bulky components, making it efficient and small enough to fit existing vehicle exhaust systems.
Although the prototype is still in its infancy stages, and different design iterations are still being tried out, there have been talks of other different implementations for the design. One such implementation is in other vehicles like submarines and spacecraft. This new tech will prove to be effective here as well because it means that submarines and spacecraft operate with a constant need for air filtration due to their limited air supplies. Working as an onboard carbon scrubber, the device could be used to effectively minimize the required load of air on these vessels, in turn creating room for other loads or personnel.
Industrial buildings and aircraft could also benefit from this technology, which would greatly help in reducing the energy used in air recirculation. Given that this new technology can capture up to 99% of carbon dioxide in the air with the right implementation configuration in a single pass, it will create an efficient air supply system in these setups. The technology would also make for a good alternative to fuel-cell vehicle implementations, given that it’s considerably costly to operate in the domain of hydrogen.
Conventional Ways of Removing Carbon Dioxide from the Air
Though CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions are currently at an all-time high, you may or may not have known that the situation could have been much worse were it not for some of the measures in place to deal with the menace. Even with the rise of electric vehicles in the past few years, the production of fossil fuel-powered vehicles has been steady over the past few decades, meaning that carbon dioxide contribution from the automotive industry has done nothing but increase.
You’re likely to have come across or heard about some of the conventional measures that have been in place over the years to help deal with managing carbon dioxide levels in the air. Before discovering the new tech from the University of Delaware, below are some of the ways humans have been actively or inactively, for some, doing their part in managing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Increasing Forest Covers
Naturally, carbon dioxide is one of the requirements for the process of photosynthesis in plants, and with forests making the largest plant-covered surfaces, their CO2 intake cannot go unnoticed. From local jurisdictions international environmental organizations, there have been calls for individuals to do their part in helping increase forest covers globally. Aside from obviously reducing our own carbon dioxide emissions, this is one of the few ways that you and I can play our part, albeit small, in helping to manage carbon dioxide levels in our ecosystem.
Though this forestry approach is one of the more obvious ways to help with the carbon dioxide problem, it’s still riddled with hurdles that make it rather challenging to put in effect. An example is an increasing need for land for habitation and farming due to population growth. This usually presents a tradeoff for many developing jurisdictions. They have to choose between feeding and hosting their people or playing their small part in the global effort to help manage CO2 levels.
Direct Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide
Direct air capture of carbon dioxide, as the name suggests, is considered one of the more obvious and head-on methods of dealing with CO2 in the air. The method works by chemically absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it either in high carbon-absorbing materials or underground. Unlike the new tech from
the University of Delaware, the direct capture method works by capturing carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere rather than capturing it directly from its source.
While the direct air capture method is rather straightforward, it is considerably expensive to both initiate and operate. Substantial amounts of power and heat are required to carry out the process, with some estimates being put at over two hundred dollars operating costs for every metric ton of carbon dioxide absorbed. As you may have guessed, for this method to be as effective as it’s intended to be, it needs to be powered with energy sources that have zero to no carbon emissions, and such energy sources do not come cheap.