none

GRABBING BACK THE CARBON

01-08-2017
by 
in 

As a country, we put out a lot of carbon into the atmosphere. Much of it comes from some of our core industries: power generation, steelworks, and mining. 

In order to combat this, a team from the University of Southern Queensland is developing a new form of carbon capture, aimed at stemming the flow of carbon and making the atmosphere a little bit cleaner. 

“This project will bring a new research direction to USQ, focusing on energy materials to help solve the emerging climate change issues, while also providing potential solutions for high CO2 emission industries, such as steel and power, to help mitigate the environmental impacts,” said Dr Lie Ge, project lead.

The main outcome expected from the project is to provide an efficient and economically viable electrochemical technology. It's based around a reaction which will consume CO2 and water to create a valuable product, such as formic acid, with the estimated operational profit of ~$1,000 per tonne based on DNV reports.

The electrochemical CO2 conversion, integrated with industrial processes, can be considered as an ultimate solution with multi-functionalities, not only reducing CO2 emissions but also efficiently generating value-added chemicals/fuels (whereas other carbon capture strategies struggle to provide direct value to the implementing company). 

The current costs ($120-to $140 per tonne) associated with the capture and transport of CO2 to a suitable geological formation limits the economic viability of these technologies in highly-competitive manufacturing industries.

A more desirable CO2 emission reduction strategy for manufacturing industries is to utilise CO2 or convert it to another chemical so that some or all of the costs of capture can be recovered.

The technologies to be developed, including the fundamental knowledge and technical understandings of CO2conversion resulting from the project, could be implemented in many other scenarios including the manufacturing and coal-fired power industries; both which play a critical role in the Australian economy.

Although the concept of electrochemical conversion of CO2 to formic acid (HCOOH) and/or CO has been demonstrated in bench scale tests, there remain several key technical challenges in the development of large-scale commercial electrochemical conversion systems.

This includes the need to increase operating cell current density to lift throughput rates and the need to improve the performance stability over long periods at industrial plant conditions.

“This project proposes to address these critical challenges by developing a novel metal catalyst with nano-structure and to improve the electrolysis cell designs through applying gas diffusion electrodes,” Dr Ge said.

CFM Director Professor Peter Schubel said the success of the research would boost the Centre’s efforts to adapt to the impacts of environmental change and bring knowledge-driven methods for catalytic materials development and electrode design.

“USQ is proud to be one of the nominated organisations to lead the development of Australian material engineering for sustainable industrial production,” Professor Schubel said.

 

 

 

Related news & editorials

  1. 18.10.2018
    18.10.2018
    by      In
    Amidst global concern about plastic waste in the world’s oceans, it is rather ironic that it is a soft drinks company that is actually doing something about the problem. SodaStream International, which has always taken a different approach to the soft drinks market, is now taking a different... Read More
  2. 16.10.2018
    16.10.2018
    by      In
    The Government has unveiled a $5 million scheme to encourage high-quality graduate engineers to work in Australia’s automotive sector. The Automotive Engineering Graduate Programme aims to increase the level of advanced engineering skills in the sector and is part of the $100 million Advanced... Read More
  3. 15.10.2018
    15.10.2018
    by      In
    Industry Update is delighted to announce that we are expanding our video offerings with a new series of tutorial style videos that perfectly complement our existing library of news style videos.
    In the first series, we are partnering with sensor specialist VEGA to publish eight playlists of videos... Read More
  4. 15.10.2018
    15.10.2018
    by      In
    Kennards Hire is certainly “doing its bit” to help Australia’s drought stricken farmers and their families. The work began with the Kennards branch network throwing itself behind the Buy a Bale initiative, and is now continuing with a key role in the Mega Farm Rescue.
    Kennards Hire team members... Read More