Researchers at the Massachusetts institute of technology have now found a way to make lithium-carbon dioxide cells, which provide as much power as existing lithium-ion batteries.The researchers say the batteries are currently in a proof-of-concept state, with commercial lithium-carbon dioxide batteries still years away.
The world is warming more and more, carbon dioxide is becoming the main culprit, we can't just spray all the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but use it more.Scientists are looking for ways to capture them from the air and hide them underground, store them in concrete, turn them into carbon nanofibers and even make fuel from them.Researchers at the Massachusetts institute of technology have now found another way to reuse the unwanted elements-to make lithium-carbon dioxide cells.
Carbon dioxide may sound common, but the problem is that converting it to a different form usually requires high voltage and sufficient energy, which offsets the benefit of removing it from the atmosphere from the start.
So the MIT team began studying whether carbon dioxide could be captured and used in batteries.Because carbon dioxide is not very active, previous attempts at lithium-carbon dioxide batteries used metal catalysts, but researchers have found a way to use carbon electrodes.
First, carbon dioxide is preactivated by mixing it with an amine solution.The aqueous solution is then mixed with another liquid electrolyte and used in batteries with carbon cathodes and lithium anodes.
" this technology can activate carbon dioxide to make electrochemistry easier," said study author Betar Gallant."The two chemicals - water-containing amines and non-water battery electrolytes - cannot normally be used together, but we have found that their combination brings new and interesting behaviors that can increase discharge voltage and allow continuous conversion of carbon dioxide."
Not only does the battery provide as much power as existing lithium batteries, but when the battery discharges, it converts the carbon dioxide in the electrolyte into solid mineral carbonates.Compared with most other technologies, this is a more efficient way to turn carbon dioxide from gas into a solid, which can then be used for other purposes - including making carbon cathodes for future batteries.
At the moment, however, the battery is only in a proof-of-concept state, and researchers say it will be years before commercial lithium-carbon dioxide batteries are available.At the same time, several other issues need to be addressed, such as the number of recharges -- at present, the battery only runs about 10 charging cycles.