Research & Breakthroughs »

  • Climate Change; Renewables Better Than Carbon Capture?

    Posted 2019-04-10 11:28:09 by: ENG Team

    Renewables better for climate change than carbon capture Jack Unwin.   A team of international researchers has found that investing in wind turbines, solar panels and energy storage is better for addressing climate change than capturing carbon from fossil fuel power stations. The researchers calculated the energy output for fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas stations and compared the results with the energy return on wind, solar, hydropower and energy storage. The results showed that the best examples of carbon capture only compare to the worst-case scenarios for renewables. According to the researchers, from Lancaster University, Khalifa University, Clemson University, UiT - The Arctic University and the University of Florence, this is due to net energy losses from installing and operating carbon capture technology. This results in a reduced net energy output for fossil fuel power stations with carbon capture. Lancaster University senior lecturer in energy storage and system dynamics Dr Denes Csala said: “It is more valuable, energetically, to invest the available energy resources directly into building new renewable energy and storage capacity rather than building new fossil-fuel power stations with carbon capture. “The better net energy return of investing in renewable energy makes it more likely to meet emission targets without risking a reduction in energy availability, due to dwindling fossil fuel supplies and a climate-constrained emissions budget. “Given its net energy disadvantages, carbon capture and storage should be considered a niche and supplementary contributor to the energy system, rather than be seen as a critical technology option as current climate agreements view it.” The research is a world-first to compare these technologies using net energy analysis and it is outlined in the paper ‘Comparative net energy analysis of renewable electricity and carbon capture and storage’, published ...

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  • CO2 to Solid Coal

    Posted 2019-03-28 15:58:50 by: Eke Eke

    New Carbon Capture Technique Turns CO2 ‘Back Into Coal’ A team of Australia scientists have used a new technique to turn CO2 back into solid “coal”.   The breakthrough method could potentially help remove existing greenhouse gas from our atmosphere. The team – from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia – was able to create the new technique by relying on liquid metal electrolysis. The new method converts CO2 from a gas state into solid particles of carbon. The tech offers engineers an alternative way to safely and permanently capture and store CO2. Up to now, carbon capture has relied on methods that turn gaseous CO2 into a liquid which is typically stored underground. These existing methods have failed to gain widespread traction because they are expensive and raise environmental concerns about liquid leaks in underground storage sites. However, because the team’s new technique produces coal like solid flakes the final solid carbon is easier to store safely. How Does The Technique Works? While the method might sound too good to be true the chemistry behind it is straight-forward. The key was the team’s ability to design a liquid metal catalyst that had very specific surface properties. Their aim was to produce a material that could efficiently conduct electricity whilst having a chemically activated surface. In their experiment, the team dissolved CO2 with an electrolyte liquid and introduced a sample of their liquid metal charged with an electrical current. The CO2 slowly changed into solid flakes. These flakes broke off from the liquid metals surfaces which allowed the system to work continuously. The method can literally roll back the clock and take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and put it back into the ground. Of course, there is an obvious catch. As the technique is the reverse chemical process of burning coal you need to put in at least as much energy as burning coal ...

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