Researchers Develop Novel Technique of Electro Geochemistry to Capture Carbon Dioxide

Researchers from University of California – Santa Cruz devised an ‘electro geochemical’ process to reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reduction of carbon dioxide emission and its active removal from the atmosphere is necessary to limit global warming by 2 degrees Celsius.

A new study published on June 25, 2018 in Nature Climate Change by a team of researchers from University of California – Santa Cruz highlighted the potential for electro geochemical process to capture carbon dioxide along with generation of hydrogen gas as a biofuel. The Electro geochemistry’ process utilizes electricity from a renewable energy source to electrolyze the saline water and generate hydrogen and oxygen. The carbon dioxide is converted to mineral bicarbonates and restricts acidification of sea water due to carbon dioxide. The negative emissions approach of Biomass energy plus carbon capture and storage (BECCS) involves growing trees or other bioenergy crops to absorb carbon dioxide. However, the process is expensive and energetically costly. The research stated that in caparison to the BECCS process, the electro geochemical method increase energy generation and carbon removal by more than 50 percent.

The electro geochemical method was efficient in carbon dioxide reduction in lab experiments. However, researchers urge to test its efficiency on natural sites. The technique is probably limited to coastal or offshore regions as it needs access to sea water and surplus renewable energy source.  Heather Willauer, an analytical chemist and the coauthor of the research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory devised a more advanced prototype of the model. His electrolytic-cation exchange module does produce hydrogen fuel however, its primary goal is to transform and store carbon dioxide as ocean bicarbonates to aid negative emission.

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