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Harvesting electricity from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide

Date:
July 23, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
A new method for producing electricity from carbon dioxide could be the start of a classic trash-to-treasure story for the troublesome greenhouse gas, scientists are reporting. The method uses CO2 from electric power plant and other smokestacks as the raw material for making electricity.
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Hoover dam. A new method could produce electricity equal to about 400 times the annual output of the Hoover Dam from carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas.
Credit: © fabienlenormand / Fotolia

A new method for producing electricity from carbon dioxide could be the start of a classic trash-to-treasure story for the troublesome greenhouse gas, scientists are reporting. Described in an article in ACS' newly launched journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the method uses CO2 from electric power plant and other smokestacks as the raw material for making electricity.

Bert Hamelers, Ph.D., and colleagues explain that electric power-generating stations worldwide release about 12 billion tons of CO2 annually from combustion of coal, oil and natural gas. Home and commercial heating produces another 11 billion tons. Smokestack gas from a typical coal-fired plant contains about 10 percent CO2, which not only goes to waste, but is a key contributor to global warming. Hamelers' team sought a way to change that trash into a treasure.

They describe technology that would react the CO2 with water or other liquids and, with further processing, produce a flow of electrons that make up electric current. It could produce about 1,570 billion kilowatts of additional electricity annually if used to harvest CO2 from power plants, industry and residences. That's about 400 times the annual electrical output of the Hoover Dam. Like that dam and other hydroelectric power facilities, that massive additional amount of electricity would be produced without adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, Hamelers pointed out.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the European Regional Development Fund, the Province of Fryslân, the City of Leeuwarden, the EZ/Kompas program of the "Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland" and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. V. M. Hamelers, O. Schaetzle, J. M. Paz-García, P. M. Biesheuvel, and C. J. N. Buisman. Harvesting Energy from CO2 Emissions. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 2013 DOI: 10.1021/ez4000059

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American Chemical Society. "Harvesting electricity from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723134420.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, July 23). Harvesting electricity from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723134420.htm
American Chemical Society. "Harvesting electricity from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723134420.htm (accessed July 4, 2015).

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