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Growing Carbon Nanotubes with CO2 to Mitigate Climate Change

According to a study published in the journal Catalysts, a group of researchers proposed the electrochemical reaction of CO2 in the molten state as an alternative for producing high-yield carbon nanostructures at a low cost.

Growing Carbon Nanotubes with CO2 to Mitigate Climate Change​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Study: Controlled Transition Metal Nucleated Growth of Carbon Nanotubes by Molten Electrolysis of CO2. Image Credit: aapsky/Shutterstock.com

CO2 is the primary cause of anthropogenic climate change. Exploiting this pollutant is thought to be an essential mitigation strategy to prevent global warming. The emphasis of this study is on electrolytic control, which is an effective approach to reducing emissions.

Impact of CO2 on Environment

CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been rapidly growing, posing an increased threat of extinction. CO2 is a very stable chemical that is difficult to eliminate from the atmosphere.

One strategy to reduce CO2 emissions is to convert it into a sustainable, (ii) functional, and (iii) desirable product with less carbon emission.

The transformed CO2 product's stability hinders the captured CO2 from being re-emitted, the functionality of the product acts as a shield for collecting the captured carbon, and the product's high value (ideally outweighs the cost of CO2 transition) provides an economic advantage to eliminate the carbon dioxide.

Graphitic Nano carbons, such as carbon nanotubes made from CO2, may be able to satisfy some of these criteria for CO2 conversion products. 

Role of Carbon Nanotubes in Decreasing CO2 Content

Concentric multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are made out of interconnected spherical graphene sheets.

CNTs have several valuable properties, including high electrical capability, high conductivity, versatility, maximum charge storage capabilities, and reactivity.

The study's intentional concept is that the better physical-chemical characteristics of CNTs, especially CNTs generated by consuming CO2, would lead to a market for their usage, stimulating CO2 utilization and pushing climate change prevention by lowering CO2 emissions.

Increased pathways for utilizing CO2 as a molten carbonate electrochemical reactant to synthesize value-added CNTs will give a way to utilize the atmospheric CO2 while also providing a stable material to store carbon removed from the atmosphere.

The CNT industry has been restricted to date because of its high manufacturing costs. The most prevalent commercial technique of generating CNTs is wet chemical deposition (CVD).

Importance of Controlling Greenhouse Gas

The increase in carbon dioxide is the main reason behind the widespread change in climate and environmental damage, and its control is one of the most serious concerns of the 21st century. 

The importance of technical, catalyst-driven climate change mitigation solutions cannot be overstated. Not just because of their probes of a new chemical to catalyze nanocarbon catalysis formation, but also by energizing the community to take action in the face of the threat.

The world is facing an existential threat from climate change.

This research makes four contributions to the field. Ten different, novel electrochemical techniques as a catalyst-driven solution to climate change are proposed as a way to convert CO2 into high-purity CNTs. The techniques generate a wide range of results.

Research Findings and Conclusion

Molten carbonate electrolysis of CO2 allows for the production of microscopic CNTs and macroscopic CNT structures.

A unique approach was applied in the CNT production with the maximum reported purity of 97 percent.

High-surface-area Inconel 600 anode was used with 0.1 wt. percent Fe2CO3 added to the 770°C Li2CO3 electrolytes and the electrochemical current flowing at an optimum charge density of 0.15 mA/cm2 for 4 hours.

The product was aligned, according to SEM analysis. The selection of electrodes and electrolyte additives was shown to be useful in regulating transition metal precipitation, which is essential for optimal electrolytic CNT development.

The research also displays innovative CNT assembly procedures using the C2CNT technique, with structural implications for microfiltration and neural - network implementations, as well as reported porosity diameters ranging from 50 nm to 1 µm.

Continue reading: Where does Nanotechnology fit in Electrification?

Reference

Xinye Liu. et al. (2022). Controlled Transition Metal Nucleated Growth of Carbon Nanotubes by Molten Electrolysis of CO2. Catalysts. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4344/12/2/137

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Hussain Ahmed

Written by

Hussain Ahmed

Hussain graduated from Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering. During his studies, he worked on several research projects related to Aerospace Materials & Structures, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Nano-technology & Robotics. After graduating, he has been working as a freelance Aerospace Engineering consultant. He developed an interest in technical writing during sophomore year of his B.S degree and has wrote several research articles in different publications. During his free time, he enjoys writing poetry, watching movies and playing Football.

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